Are Background Feelings Intentional Feelings?


I address the problem of the intentionality of “feeling”, considering the study-case of “background feelings” (malaise, tension, etc.) in Damasio (2003, 2010). Background feelings, in fact, are “border case” feelings: These feelings seem lacking intentionality, at least by the meaning that their intentional content is not any object in the world they refer to. Differently from other feelings connected to intentional states (such as emotions, for ex., feelings are mainly considered arising from), background feelings reveal a bodily nature of feeling at its core, while intentionality of feelings, when any, rather depends on the intentionality of the states feelings concern. Background feelings reveal an intimate, immediate relation to our own body we can’t catch considering feelings always and only connected to emotions. The intimate relation to the body, coming in “foreground” in these feelings only, should shed more light on another key feature of feelings, namely their phenomenality, more than their “supposed” intentionality.

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Barile, E. (2014) Are Background Feelings Intentional Feelings?. Open Journal of Philosophy, 4, 560-574. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.44058.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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