Morality and the Emotions

ISBN : 9780198709404

Carla Bagnoli
312 Pages
157 x 234 mm
Pub date
Mar 2015
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Emotions shape our mental and social lives. Their relation to morality is, however, problematic. Since ancient times, philosophers have disagreed about the place of emotions in morality. One the one hand, some hold that emotions are disorderly and unpredictable animal drives, which undermine our autonomy and interfere with our reasoning. For them, emotions represent a persistent source of obstacles to morality, as in the case of self-love. Some virtues, such as prudence, temperance, and fortitude, require or simply consist in the capacity to counteract the disruptive effect of emotions. On the other hand, venerable traditions of thought place emotions such as respect, love, and compassion at the very heart of morality. Emotions are sources of moral knowledge, modes of moral recognition, discernment, valuing, and understanding. Emotions such as blame, guilt, and shame are the voice of moral conscience, and are central to the functioning of our social lives and normative practices. New scientific findings about the pervasiveness of emotions posit new challenges to ethical theory. Are we responsible for emotions? What is their relation to practical rationality? Are they roots of our identity or threats to our autonomy? This volume is born out of the conviction that philosophy provides a distinctive approach to these problems. Fourteen original articles, by prominent scholars in moral psychology and philosophy of mind, offer new arguments about the relation between emotions and practical rationality, value, autonomy, and moral identity.


List of Contributors
1. Craving the right: emotions and moral reasons
2. Emotions and the categorical authority of moral reasons
3. Self-Love and Practical Rationality
4. The Nature and Morality of Romantic Compromises
5. Values and Emotions: Neo-Sentimentalism's Prospects
6. Emotions, perceptions and reasons
7. Conscience: What is Moral Intuition?
8. Empathy and empirical psychology. A critique of Shaun Nichols's Neo-sentimentalism
9. Reactive Attitudes Revisited
10. Responsibility and Dignity: Strawsonian Themes
11. Guilty Thoughts
12. Moral Sentiment and the Sources of Moral Identity
13. On Alienated Emotions

About the author: 

Carla Bagnoli is Full Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she has taught since 1998. She was nominated Professore Straordinario di Filosofia Teoretica at the Universita di Modena and Reggio Emilia in 2010. She has written three monographs on moral dilemmas, perplexity, and the authority of morality. Her work has appeared in journals such as the Canadian Journal of Philosophy, European Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Explorations, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Nomos, Dialectica, and Topoi. Her current research project concerns ethical objectivity and the subjective aspects of practical reason.

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