Rethinking the Principles of Emotion Taxonomy

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This article examines whether a functionalist approach to emotion classification is a research program that can feasibly be implemented in an experimental environment. I suggest that this is a promise perhaps impossible to keep. The crux of the argument is that if functional taxonomy is to go the full distance and shape experimental conditions to the new boundaries, then stimuli/experimental manipulations must be selected based on functional principles. But this seems implausible or even impossible. I conclude that emotion taxonomy, and thus the metastructure of emotion theory, is both constrained and determined by human emotional feelings, and suggest that feelings have a special epistemological status in emotion research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-233
Number of pages8
JournalEmotion Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • classification
  • emotion taxonomy
  • functionalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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