Emotions, personhood and social ontology: A critical realist approach.
Philip D. Walsh
Refereed Article, 2021
Walsh, P. (2021). Emotions, personhood and social ontology: A critical realist approach. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 51(2), 371–390.
This paper addresses the question of the relations between emotions and personhood, with a view to advancing a critical realist account of the role of emotions in social life. It is argued that the constitution of persons has to be approached from an ontological perspective, and that this raises questions about how sociology has addressed the meaning and role of emotions. Margaret Archer's critical realist perspective on them as commentaries on human concerns is broadly endorsed, but some significant correctives are proposed, especially with respect to the important distinction between primary and secondary emotions. To this end, it is argued that the affect spectrum theory advanced by Warren TenHouten can be fruitfully appended to a critical realist theory of emotions.