Affect: Pleasure, Pain, and EmotionsThree busts of men expressing emotions and sensations such as disgust and pain

Friday 5 and Saturday 6 June 2015

This interdisciplinary workshop will bring together philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists to discuss the following topics amongst others:

Pleasures, pains, and emotions are affective states. Why so? What makes a throbbing pain and a feeling of joy, but not a visual experience, an affective state? In a nutshell, what constitutes affective states? Moreover, do pleasures, pains, and emotions form a natural kind, or does the category ‘affective states’ lump together types of mental states which are radically different and hence should be kept distinct? One might answer this by saying that affective states are unified in virtue of being the only mental states with affective phenomenology (i.e., the only mental states that feel good or bad). This, however, generates further questions: what is the nature of affective phenomenology? What are its psychological and neural underpinnings? In virtue of what do affective states feel good or bad? Alternatively, one might say that affective states form a natural kind because they all have pleasure or pain among their basic ingredients. But what is the relation between pain and negative emotions and between pleasure and positive emotions? More generally, what should be added to the mix in order to get emotions out of sensory pleasures and pains?


Firth Court Council Room, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN


To register, email Luca Barlassina.

Friday 5th June

9.30-10.00 Coffee + registration

10.00-11.15 Peter Carruthers (Philosophy, Maryland) “Valence and value”

11.15-11.45 Coffee Break

11.45-1.00 David Bain (Philosophy, Glasgow) “Pains as urges”

1.00-3.00 Lunch (provided)

3.00-4.15 Giovanna Colombetti (Philosophy, Exeter) “Incorporation and affectivity”

4.15-4.45 Coffee break

4.45-5.30 Andrew Lawrence (Neuroscience, Cardiff) “Wanting, liking and addiction: insights from Parkinson's disease”

Saturday 6th June

10.00-11.15 Valerie Hardcastle (Philosophy, Cincinnati) “Suffer the little children: Pain, pleasure, and emotion”

11.15-11.45 Coffee Break

11.45-1.00 Siri Leknes (Neuroscience, Oslo) “A neuroscience perspective on hedonic feelings”

1.00-3.00 Lunch (provided)

3.00-4.15 Piotr Winkielman (Psychology, UCSD) “Affect and preferences in the embodied, fluency-seeking, yet curiously rational mind”

4.15-4.45 Coffee break

4.45-5.30 Murat Aydede (Philosophy, UBC, Canada) “A three-level account of sensory affect”