Embodiment, aesthetics and emotions according to William James

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses in detail both William James’ hypothesis on the embodied dimension of emotions and its consequence for the appreciation of aesthetic experiences as core constituents of the sense of our existence in the world with other living beings. James' assumptions on emotions stress the physiological and embodied reality of our lives, linking it to our aesthetic dimension, they makes us realize, through a description and an analysis of emotions, how much our mental life is knit up with our corporeal frame. Volitional and cognitive aspects (perceptive or mental) are always intertwined with an emotional dimension. Consequently, there are no emotions that are not a changing of our body accompanying the perception of external or internal events. Emotions are the unsurpassable consequence of our embodied existence, that is to say, of our affected openness to the world. Artistic works, thus, reveal us the importance of our bodily changes to our understanding and valuing of the world and of the sense of our being-in-the world. Doing so, they also reveal the empathetic and inter-subjective dimension of our emotional life that allows us to recognize and to discover each other as emotional beings. Aesthetics and emotions have therefore a deep moral and political role in our lives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLes Émotions Créatives
EditorsDamien Ehrhardt, Hélène Fleury, Soraya Nour Sckell
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherDuncker & Humblot
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-428-58501-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-428-18501-6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Publication series

NameBeiträge zur Politischen Wissenschaft
PublisherDuncker Und Humblot


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