Friederike Moltmann » Events » Workshop The Ontology of the Mind and Its Linguistic Reflection: Emotions April 28-29, 2022
Workshop The Ontology of the Mind and Its Linguistic Reflection: Emotions April 28-29, 2022

Date: April 28, 2022

Workshop The Ontology of the Mind and Its Linguistic Reflection: Emotions

April 28-29, 2022, in person and online

Zoom link:

MSHS Sud and BCL, Université Cote d'Azur, Nice


Thursday, April 28:

9.30 - 10.00: Coffee

10.00 - 10.20: Friederike Moltmann (BCL Nice): Welcome and some remarks on the emotions - language connection

10.30 - 11.45: Bozena Rozwadowska (Wroclav): 'What language tells us about the nature of emotion events'

11.45 - 13.00: Alex Grzankowski (Birkbeck): 'How can we tell whether emotions represent values?'

13.00 - 14.45 lunch

14.45 - 16.00: Sacha Carlson (CRHI, Nice): 'The language of emotions and emotions in language: a phenomenological analysis'

16.00-16.15: Coffee break

16.15 - 17.00: Danielle Macbeth (Haverford): 'Feeling, emotions, value, and reason'

17.15 -18.00: Xiaolong Wang (Western Michigan University): 'What should rationalists sentimentalists say about fittingness?' (via ZOOM)

19.00: Conference dinner

Friday, April 29:

9.30 - 10.00 Coffee

10.00 - 11.15: Julien Deonna (Geneva): 'Emotions and their correctness conditions'

11.15 - 12.00: Sara Chayani (Brighton): 'Emotions and pragmatics' (via ZOOM)

12.00 - 14.00: lunch

14.00 - 14.45: Martina Wiltschko (Barcelona): 'Why don't emotions enter grammar?' 

14.45 - 15.00: Coffee break

15.00 - 15.45: Guglielmo Cinque: (Venice): 'Selective grammatical encoding of emotions in language' (via ZOOM)


MSHS Sud-Est Pôle Universitaire Saint Jean d’Angely Bâtiment SJA 3

Salle 128

24 avenue des Diables Bleus
06357 Nice Cedex 4, France

Please register for ZOOM as well as physical attendance at



Sacha Carlson (CRHI, Nice): 'The language of emotions and emotions in language: a phenomenological analysis'

This presentation outlines a phenomenological analysis of emotions (more specifically affectivity (Befindlichkeit), and feeling (Stimmung)), as well as their relation to language. First of all, we will analyse how the temporal experience of language manages to explain an experience that involves another type of temporality, namely affectivity. We will then examine the following hypothesis: perhaps the experience of language necessarily unfolds, in part, thanks to an affective experience. 

Sara Chayani (Brighton): 'Emotions and pragmatics'

The appearance of the term and the notion of relevance in affective science and pragmatics is not a mere terminological coincidence; the two notions are used in similar ways in these two distinct disciplines (Wharton et al. 2021).  While I do agree that the two notions of relevance are quite similar, I do not agree on the way that the similarities are hypothesized.  In this study, I address the drawbacks of Wharton et al (2021) study, focusing on the notion of goals in pragmatic and affective relevance and offer an alternative account of the similarities between the two notions of relevance.

Guglielmo Cinque (Venice): 'Selective grammatical encoding of emotions in language'

In Cinque (2013) I considered one potential argument for Universal Grammar, one stemming from the limited number of functional notions that are grammatically encoded in the languages of the world; in particular, what one finds is that only a fraction of our cognitive concepts and distinctions receives a grammatical encoding in the languages of the world, where by grammatical encoding I mean encoding in one of the closed classes of categories (affixes, particles, auxiliaries, clitics, etc.). Here I focus on the specific domain of emotions. If one considers the emotions listed in Charles Darwin (1872) and Ekman (1972), one finds that only a tiny set is grammatically encoded, and universally so, it appears (Commiseration (commiserative morphology), Endearment/affection (endearment morphology), Contempt (pejorative morphology), Surprise (mirative morphology), Wish/Desire (optative morphology), but not ‘love’, ‘hatred’, ‘anger’, ‘sorrow’, ‘joy’, ‘happiness’, ‘disgust’, ‘embarassment’, ‘remorse’, ‘relief’, ‘pride’, ‘shame’, ‘jealousy’, ‘envy’, etc.: something that needs to be understood.

Julien Deonna (and Fabrice Teroni) (Geneva): 'Emotions and their correctness conditions'

In this talk, we contrast the different ways in which the representationalist and the attitudinalist in the theory of emotions account for the fact that emotions have evaluative correctness conditions. We argue that the attitudinalist has the resources to defend her view against recent attacks from the representationalist. To this end, we elaborate on the idea that emotional attitudes have a rich profile and explain how it supports the claim that these attitudes generate the wished-for evaluative correctness conditions. Our argument rests on the idea that emotional attitudes manifest a sensitivity to evaluative evidence and that this sensitivity secures the kind of normativity we expect of the emotions. We bring our discussion to a close by assessing whether the psychological underpinnings of this sensitivity to evaluative evidence are such as to threaten the foundation of attitudinalism: the idea that emotions do not represent values. Given the available models of how we might access values prior to emotional experience, we conclude that the attitudinalist is still in the game.

Alex Grzankowski (Birkbeck): 'How can we tell whether emotions represent values?'

Emotions represent values. Or so goes the dominate philosophical conception. Emotions “tell” us about the world, they justify beliefs, and they can be evaluated as correct or incorrect. But there is an alternative view. Rather than representing someone, say, as having wronged you, there is a way you represent them in feeling angry with them: you represent-as-having-wronged-you the target of your emotion. The present talk considers whether there is anything that might allow us to choose between these views, for they can look to be mere terminological variants.Bozena Rozwadowska (Wroclav): 'What language tells us about the nature of emotion events'

Danielle Macbeth (Haverford): 'Feeling, emotions, value, and reason'

My concern is with the nature of and relationship between feelings and emotion, in particular, with the fruitfulness of a proposed analogy: that feelings stand to emotions as secondary qualities stand to primary qualities.

Bozena Rozwadowska (Wroclav): 'What language tells us about the nature of emotion events'

In my talk I will focus on linguistic puzzles related to special behavior of psych-verbs (i.e. verbs describing emotions). In current debates there are two types of views: on one hand there are approaches which attempt to reduce the behavioral properties of psych verbs to action verbs (from the physical domain); on the other hand, there are views which attribute the puzzling properties of psych-verbs to the different nature of emotional eventualities. I will attempt to defend the latter view. Building on my previous extensive studies, I will argue that we do need to enrich the traditional inventory of event types to include initial boundary events. This helps us to accommodate emotional eventualities. I will provide evidence for this need from Polish, a language where types of events and aspectual distinctions are overtly represented. In contrast to the “received views”, this proposal entails that psych predicates are different from change of state verbs and from achievements. This finds further support in some recent analyses of psych verbs in Romance languages and other Slavic languages.

Martina Wiltschko (Barcelona): 'Why don't emotions enter grammar?' 

The primary goal of this talk is to introduce a conundrum which might shed new light on the question regarding the relation between language and emotion on the one hand as well as the architecture of the mind more generally. The conundrum is summarized in below. a. There are no grammatical categories dedicated to the expression of emotions. b. In humans, there is an intricate dependency between language and emotion. That is, we observe that grammar, the core computational system for language (and possibly of thought in general) appears to lack access to emotions. This might suggest that the faculty of language is opaque for emotional content. On the other hand, there is an intricate dependency between the language system and the emotional system evidenced phylogenetically, ontogenetically as well as in clinical profiles. The question is why? A secondary goal of this talk is to sketch a proposal that allows us to resolve the language-emotion conundrum. Specifically, I shall introduce the hypothesis that the complementarity of grammar and emotions derives from the fact that the same architecture is responsible for configuring (the expression of) thought (i.e., language) and (the expression of) feelings (i.e., emotions).


Themes of the workshop

The topic of the workshop is emotions and their linguistic reflection. This includes issues such as:

-  What is the nature of  emotion and what sort of linguistic support is there for it (e.g. are emotions perceptions, judgments, evaluations or propositional attitudes, and is there linguistic support for one or the other view?);

-  How do emotions relate to cognitive attitudes? Can emotions come with a propositional content or are they rather directed toward a fact or state of affairs?

-  What role do emotions play for the notion of direction of fit? What conditions of fit are emotions themselves subject to and are there linguistic reflections of that?

-  The syntax and semantics of different types of reports of emotions

Some references

P. Goldie (ed.) (2010): Oxford Handbook of Emotions. Oxford UP, 

J. Deonna / C. Tappolet / F. Teroni (2015): 'Philosophical Issues about Emotion'. WIREs Cognitive Science.

A. Scarantino / R. de Sousa (2021): 'Emotion', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2021 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

B. Rozwadowska / A. Bondaruk (eds.) (2021): Beyond Emotions in Language. Psychological verbs at the interfaces. John Benjamins

F. Moltmann (2021): 'Truthmaking, Satisfaction and the Force-Content Distinction'. In G. Mras / M. Schmitz (eds): The Unity of the Proposition and the Force-Content Distinction. Routledge, 2021.


Financial support: MSHS Sud and BCL, Université Côte d'Azur