SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

What is an emotion?
(Philosophy of Mind, English)

In contemporary studies, emotions have been approached from cognitive, psychological, biological and cultural perspectives, and have been interpreted differently according to these perspectives. The fundamental dichotomy on the study of emotion has been centered around evolutionary psychologists and social constructionists. Evolutionary psychologists assert that emotions are adaptations and they are specific psychological responses that evolved to solve various problems faced by our ancestors. On the other hand, social constructionists assert that emotions are socially constructed which makes them products of nurture rather than nature. Aside from these fundamental approaches, there are also hybrid theories about emotions, which admit that some emotions are adaptations, whereas the other emotions are socially constructed. It seems as if there is no room for suggesting another approach about emotions. However, I assert that the concepts that are used to explain emotions in these perspectives need to be re-examined. In this context, the concepts of the natural and of the social should be reassessed regarding what they really are/are meant to be. The concept of natural is considered to be contrary to the concept of social, i.e., natural is innate, inevitable, and involuntary fact; social is flexible, variable in time or in places, and learnable. I suggest that social is natural in the sense that socialization is an adaptation that evolved to solve environmental problems. In this regard, I take my position not as a hybrid but as a naturalistic one and argue that being social is significant for understanding our nature since that emotions are both natural and social. Accordingly, in this presentation, I will treat the matter of these approaches on emotions, and scrutinize the nature of emotions in the light of the naturalistic perspective.

Time: 10:40-11:10, 19 September 2019 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.007

Derya Sakin 
(Middle East Technical University, Turkey)

I was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. I completed my graduation from the Department of Philosophy at Yeditepe University in Istanbul. I then pursued my master degree at Istanbul University. Now I am studying my phd. at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, and I have been working as a research assistant at the same university since 2015.

My research focuses primarily on issues in contemporary naturalism and specifically naturalist ethics. I aim to understand the nature of behaviors of both humans and non-humans. I question of what is behind these behaviors such as free will or intrinsic disposition or language which is considered only humans possess. Accordingly, I think philosophy and behavioral sciences should be associated in this sense. I also have a keen interest in the nature and origin of the alleged differences among philosophical traditions such as pragmatism, continental philosophy, postmodernism, and philosophy of language -- where I have a particular interest in Wittgenstein.

Testability and Meaning deco