PHI372 - Pleasure, Pain and Emotions


Affective states such as pains, pleasures, emotions, and moods have a profound bearing on the meaning and quality of our lives. Surprisingly, however, for a good part of the 20th century philosophers and psychologists neglected affective states almost entirely. In the last decades, things have dramatically changed, and we have witnessed an affective turn in cognitive science: philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, behavioural economists, etc. eventually gave pains, pleasures, and emotions the pride of place, generating a whole host of fascinating discoveries, theories, and empirical results. In this module, we will explore these recent advances in the study of affect, with a special focus on recent works in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology. These are some of the problems that we will explore: why does pain feel bad? Are emotions cognitive states? What is the relation between pleasure and happiness? Are moral judgments based on emotions? How can we know what other people are feeling? Can we desire something and dislike it at the same time?


Luca Barlassina


50% coursework and 50% exam or 100% long essay option

Lectures - Autumn 2017

Tuesday 1-3pm - Hicks Building Lecture Theatre 9

Seminars (from Week 3)

Tuesday 4-5pm - 38 Mappin Street - 101
Tuesday 5-6pm - 38 Mappin Street - 101