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The Ascent of AffectGenealogy and Critique$
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Ruth Leys

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226488424

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226488738.001.0001

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Richard S. Lazarus’s Appraisal Theory II

Richard S. Lazarus’s Appraisal Theory II

The Battle Is Joined

(p.172) Chapter Four Richard S. Lazarus’s Appraisal Theory II
The Ascent of Affect

Ruth Leys

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the important 1980s debate between Richard Lazarus and Robert Zajonc over the role of cognition in emotion. It emphasizes the role of information-processing theories of the mind in enabling Zajonc to propose a non-cognitive theory of the affects in terms not unlike those of Silvan S. Tomkins. It thus places the debate between Lazarus and Zajonc in the context of ideas about the automaticity and non-intentionality of many mental functions. It also analyses Lazarus's several attempts to rebut Zajonc, based in part on his criticisms of computer models of mentation, models to which, somewhat incoherently, his own thought also fell captive. Throughout this chapter, the goal is to make clear the difficulties facing Lazarus in his attempt to incorporate intentionality and meaning into a science of the emotions.

Keywords:   automaticity of affect, John A. Bargh, computational models of the mind, cognitive unconscious, Hubert Dreyfus, the exposure effect, Joseph LeDoux, Robert Nisbett, unintended thought, Timothy Wilson

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