Is emotion a necessary component of consciousness? Or is it possible for some conscious entity, like maybe an artificial intelligence, to not feel any emotions? I would also like to know what philosophers have said about that topic.

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    You might want to look into the philosophy of "affect", which is what emotions are made out of. I think of emotion as biographically salient affects. HTH
    – user62727
    Sep 25, 2022 at 4:21
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    Emotion is extremely hard to analyze cognitively psychologically since it belongs to the non-cognitive although it seems very objective and analyzable in some natural non-concealed cases. For example even the feeling of love has four types per the famous anti-naturalist C. S. Lewis, ie, affect/storage, philia, eros, and charity (agape)... Sep 25, 2022 at 5:03
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    Here is a relevant answer: 'Can emotions be logical? And can logic and emotion co-exist?' philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/91990/… Purposes, and values, have to push us, that's the nature of an emotional reaction. An AGI could aim to achieve it's programmed task, but to take up it's own tasks it would have to come to care about some objective. I'd say this could absolutely be simulated, but would involve situational intelligence like Kahneman presents in his book 'Thinking Fast & Slow'
    – CriglCragl
    Sep 26, 2022 at 10:19
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    @GeoffreyThomas MarkAndrews curiousdannii: How is this off topic? This is a well established area of philosophical discussion, relating for instance to the Is-Ought distinction.
    – CriglCragl
    Sep 26, 2022 at 10:24
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    CriglCragl: Question re-opened. On further reflexion, and in the light of your comment, I think the question should stand. Please accept my apologies. Best - Geoffrey
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Sep 26, 2022 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Emotion is a necessary component of consciousness, as the name indicates, consciousness means human mind being conscious or having more complex understanding of and interaction with surroundings. For example, an ant does not know or not conscious about why it rains or what exists beyond the horizon, whereas human mind due to its higher intelligence is more conscious and can have extremely complex interactions. In other words, the more intelligent you are (in biological sense) the more conscious you can be. So the question arises which came first consciousness or intelligence. Evolutionary biologists have concluded that complicated and dynamic interactions were one of the most important reasons for human intelligence. So that means emotions, interactions and intelligence, consciousness augment each other. That is the reason we humans are more consciousness, due to we having higher emotional intelligence. So emotions are never a hindrance to being conscious.

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    Yes. I think of emotion as a shorthand or summary response to a lot of unconscious processing. The alternative is to somehow hold all of the related details in awareness, which is impossible.
    – Scott Rowe
    Sep 26, 2022 at 19:57
  • Yes this is a new perspective to me regarding emotions. Can we take interactions (for ex: reading a book, listening to music, reading philosophy, discussions etc.) that enriches your philosophical outlook as dialectical process through which we gain higher consciousness?
    – sputnik
    Sep 27, 2022 at 7:20
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    There is an idea in psychology that I can't quite remember, but it says that complex experiences cause us to integrate more of our memory and abilities together, for example martial arts or dance. But yes, reading something challenging, listening to complex music and so on cause some growth.
    – Scott Rowe
    Sep 27, 2022 at 10:02

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