Emotional Reflexivity in Reasoning: The Function of Describing the Environment in Emotion Regulation

  • Dina Mendonça
  • João Sàágua


The chapter shows how the recognition of reflexivity of emotions is crucial for understanding the role of emotions in reasoning because it highlights the regulatory role of emotion in emotional experience. The chapter begins by showing that to attain a conception of rationality that incorporates feelings, emotions, and sentiments as parts of the reasoning processes requires capturing the emotional landscape in all its complexity, and that integrating the role of meta-emotions is a contribution in that direction. Then introducing the notion of meta-emotions and showing how emotional reflexivity modifies the nature of our emotional world, it is shown how emotions also have a regulatory mechanism that can either be maladaptive or at the center of emotional health. In addition, because meta-emotions provide a test for the more general assumptions of theories of emotions, the chapter ends by showing how adopting a Situated Approach to Emotions is well-suited for explaining the refinement and complexity of emotion regulation. The final reflection of the chapter explains why adopting such theoretical frame of work makes it possible to use the term situation in a technical manner, which then reveals that emotions sometimes are described as causes while other times as reasons in connection to their regulative mechanisms.


Meta-emotions Rationality Reasons Reflexivity Situations 



Dina Mendonça’s research is supported by post-doc fellowship granted by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (SFRH/BPD/102507/ 2014). An earlier version of the paper was presented at the Feeling Reason Conference at the University of Edinburgh (May 2017). We want to thank Laura Candiotto and all other participants for fruitful and insightful conversations, and Laura Candiotto’s editing work on giving several suggestions and revisions that greatly helped to make the argument clearer.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dina Mendonça
    • 1
  • João Sàágua
    • 1
  1. 1.IFILNOVA, FCSH NOVA, Universidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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