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The EmotionsA Philosophical Exploration$
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Peter Goldie

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253043

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199253048.001.0001

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Emotion, Mood, and Traits of Character

Emotion, Mood, and Traits of Character

Chapter:
(p.141) 6 Emotion, Mood, and Traits of Character
Source:
The Emotions
Author(s):

Peter Goldie (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199253048.003.0006

Emotion, mood, and character are entwined in a life narrative. Moods are intentional; drawing on Robert Musil's work on the emotions, it is argued that emotion and mood are distinguished by the degree of specificity of their object. Character traits are dispositions to have thoughts and feelings of a certain sort. The idea that the notion of character is fundamentally mistaken—the fundamental attribution error—is challenged. Sometimes people fail to act according to their traits, and this can be explained by reference to an excusing reason: a non‐rational influence on thinking, or an undue influence on thinking. Milgram's obedience experiments are discussed in some detail.

Keywords:   character traits, dispositions, emotion, excusing reason, fundamental attribution error, Milgram, mood, obedience experiments

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