Philosophy professor wins fellowships to study emotion

craig delanceyDr. Craig DeLancey, assistant professor of philosophy and cognitive science, has received two fellowships for 2006 that will allow him to spend 12 months exploring the relationship between rational action and emotion.

“My proposal is to write either a series of articles or a book,” he said, that will carry forward both the work he did in his 2002 book, “Passionate Engines: What Emotions Reveal About Mind and Artificial Intelligence,” and the work he has been doing in the past year under a U.S. Army Research Institute grant on how emotions such as anger and fear affect decision making.

Now in his fourth year at Oswego, DeLancey qualified for the National Endowment for the Humanities junior faculty fellowship. He is among 193 fellowship recipients this year out of 1,479 applicants.

After he received notice of the NEH fellowship, he was invited to take part in the fellowship program at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for the Philosophy of Science. There he will join fellows from around the world for Pittsburgh’s spring semester.

“They just expect you to think and write and give talks to each other and bounce ideas off of each other,” DeLancey said.

His work under the defense grant involved evolutionary game theory simulations, but his work in the coming year will be more theoretical.

DeLancey said he will attempt to reformulate the debate in contemporary philosophy that, as he wrote in his proposal, reflects “an ancient concern with the dual nature of emotions which makes a unified account elusive: emotions sometimes answer to reason, but are at other times resistant to our control.”

Part of the confusion involves defining terms like cognition and even emotion, he said. He will focus on five basic emotions—fear, anger, disgust, joy and sadness—because there is general agreement that these are indeed emotions.

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(Posted: Nov 30, 2005)

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