The Philosophy of Emotion


Emotions take up an important place in our lives. They accompany and often direct our thoughts and actions, they light up the imagination and structure our relationships with others. But what exactly are emotions and what do they tell us about ourselves and the world? Are they bodily feelings, or gut reactions, are they cognitive judgments or complex perceptual experiences? If they are experiences what are they experiences of, and do they come from the body or the mind? Can emotions be rational or are they juxtaposed to reason? In this course we will explore the rich, intriguing and fluid story of the emotions as they feature in historical philosophical texts, and are explained in the most accepted theories of the moment.

Programme details

Week 0: An introduction to Teams

Week 1: What is an emotion?

Week 2: What is the role of emotion in humans and other animals?

Week 3: Feelings I: William James

Week 4: Feelings II: Some recent proposals

Week 5: Cognitivism: Are emotions judgments?

Week 6: Appraisals: Are emotions ways of perceiving the world?

Week 7: How we express our emotions

Week 8: Morality and the emotions

Week 9: What is emotional authenticity and sincerity?

Week 10: Moods and emotion


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Description Costs
Course fee £220.00
Take this couse for CATS points £10.00


Dr Julia Weckend

Julia joined the OUDCE in 2014. Her teaching and research interests include the history of philosophy, with emphasis on metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, perception and emotion.

Course aims

To gain an understanding of the key themes in the philosophy of emotions, and related problems and concerns.

Course objectives

1. Become familiar with the central issues that preoccupy the philosophy of emotions.

2. Examine and evaluate theories of emotions.

3. Read and discuss the relevant literature on the subject.

Teaching methods

Pre-recorded lectures (1-hour) supported by powerpoint, extensive handouts and a weekly list of references. Students will be asked to read in advance of lectures, take notes and contribute to discussions in the weekly live seminars (1-hour) on Teams.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

1. Be able to understand and describe the main issues that preoccupy the philosophy of emotions.

2. Articulate the main distinctions and ideas these issues trade upon.

3. Develop a position of your own and constructively evaluate the positions that have been explored.


Assessment methods

Assessment will be by means of an essay of 1,500 words. It is recommended to submit a plan, set of notes, or first draft of the assignment before the end of the course.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.



To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)