"Real emotions"

I argue that naturalism is the best approach to explaining some emotional actions, and thus is the best candidate to explain the relevant emotions. I take naturalism to be the view that these emotions are motivational states which must be identified by using (not necessarily exclusively) naturalistic discourse which, if not wholly lacking belief and other propositional attitude terms, at least does not require reference to belief and desire. The kinds of emotional actions I consider are ones which continue beyond the satisfaction of the desires that could plausibly be said to motivate the agent. As a contrast to a realist position about emotions I examine interpretationist theories of mind, using Dennett and Davidson as examples, and show that the emotional actions in question will fail to be explained by these theories. In conclusion, I provide one weak version of a natural realist view of emotions, and show how it succeeds where interpretationism fails.
Philosophical Psychology, vol. 11, No. 4 (December) 1998.