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James-Lange view

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P hilosophy of mind The view that emotions are feelings generated by characteristic bodily changes in response to external stimuli. Hence emotion follows bodily changes rather than, as the traditional position holds, causes them. We are afraid because we tremble, and we feel sorry because we cry, rather than the contrary. This view was proposed independently by the American philosopher William James in 1884 and the Danish anatomist Carl G. Lange in 1895. Psychologically, this claim helped to put the study of emotion on the basis of a naturalist inquiry rather than on the traditional basis of introspection . Philosophically, this thesis opened a new era for the discussion of the relationship between reason and emotion. “The famous James–Lange theory – developed by the American psychologist William James and the Danish physician C. G. Lange – asserted, that one did not feel the inner cause of emotion, but simply some part of the emotional behaviour itself.” Skinner, Science and Human Behaviour ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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