Accessibility statement

Topics in Perception & Emotion - PHI00091M

« Back to module search

  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Louise Richardson
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

Both perceptual and emotional experiences exhibit ‘intentionality’: they are about or directed at things. In this module you will explore questions about perceptual and emotional intentionality and especially the intersection between the two. Topics may include:

  • Are emotions perceptual experiences?

  • How should we determine what can and cannot figure in the content of perceptual experience?

  • Can we perceive other people’s emotions?

  • How, if at all, do emotions and moods affect perceptual experience of the surrounding world?

Such topics will be investigated via close, independent readings of one or two texts per week, and in-depth seminar discussion of those texts. Whilst most readings will be philosophical, we may also consider work from other disciplines—such as psychology—which bears on the topics we will discuss.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

  • To explore some contemporary debates about emotional and perceptual intentionality, especially the intersection between the two

  • To develop some key skills:

    • – to work your way to an understanding of challenging philosophical puzzles, views, and arguments in an autonomous way, showing critical awareness and command of the material

    • – to discuss complex and difficult conceptual problems with others, working together to develop understanding and critique and evaluate theories

    • – to evaluate views and arguments methodically and in detail

    • – to develop your own view on a question—based on and informed by a strong understanding of contributions to the debate—and then assemble a detailed reasoned case for that view

    • – to undertake independent research reading

    • – to find your way through a range of connected debates, making connections between them and developing those connections to gain a deeper understanding of the debates and create better arguments

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should be able to:

  • Understand some puzzles, problems, and theories in the philosophy of perception and emotion and explain those in clear and precise terms, showing critical awareness and an ability to synthesize information and ideas from a variety of sources

  • Develop and articulate detailed arguments for and against particular key theories in the philosophy of perception and emotion.

  • Make a measured judgement about which are the most plausible answers to some questions in the philosophy of perception and emotion, based on a careful consideration of the arguments, and make a sustained and detailed case for that judgement

  • Be able to read and critically engage with contemporary work on the philosophy of perception and emotion, as well as some related work from other disciplines, in an autonomous way

  • Have further developed their skills in philosophical discussion and writing

  • Be able to prepare an extended essay that goes beyond the core framework that is provided by seminar readings and discussions, and which shows originality and critical reflection in the development of arguments


Task Length % of module mark
Summative Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Summative Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

All feedback will be returned according to University and Departmental policy.

Indicative reading

Green, Mitchell (2010). Perceiving Emotions. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 84 (1):45-61.

Helm, Bennett W. (2015). Emotions and Recalcitrance: Reevaluating the Perceptual Model. Dialectica 69 (3):417-433.

Prinz, Jesse J. (2006). Is Emotion a Form of Perception? Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (sup1):137-160.

Riener, Cedar R. ; Stefanucci, Jeanine K. ; Proffitt, Dennis R. & Clore, Gerald (2011). An effect of mood on the perception of geographical slant. Cognition and Emotion 25 (1):174-182.

Siegel, Susanna (2005). Which properties are represented in perception. In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press. pp. 481--503.

Tappolet, Christine (2012). Emotions, perceptions, and emotional illusions. In Calabi Clotilde (ed.), Perceptual Illusions. Philosophical and Psychological Essays, Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 207-24.

Yip, Brandon (forthcoming). Emotion as High-level Perception. Synthese:1-21.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.