The Significance of Meta-Emotions for Reflecting on Ourselves and Others


  • Katharina Anna Sodoma Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München



Meta-emotions are emotions about emotions, such as, for example, shame about anger. An important subset of meta-emotions constitutes a special case of co-experienced emotions, in which one emotion is directed at another emotion experienced by a subject at the same time. By making us reflectively aware of our own first-order emotions and suggesting an evaluation of them, meta-emotions enable reflection on our own emotional sensibility. In this paper, I explore the roles of meta-emotions in the context of affective empathy. I show that, whereas meta-emotions on the side of the target person increase the complexity of empathy’s success conditions, meta-emotions on the side of the empathiser expand the role of meta-emotions for self-reflection and give rise to parallel phenomena of other-directed reflection. Exploring the roles of meta-emotions in the context of affective empathy allows us to better understand the significance of meta-emotions, as well as the functions of affective empathy.


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How to Cite

Sodoma, K.A. (2023) “The Significance of Meta-Emotions for Reflecting on Ourselves and Others”, Passion: Journal of the European Philosophical Society for the Study of Emotions, 1(2), pp. 169–184. doi:10.59123/passion.v1i2.13778.