Patricia Greenspan

in The Oxford Handbook of Rationality

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195145397
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199752393 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


Greenspan discusses emotion as an element of practical rationality. One approach links emotion to evaluative judgment and applies some variant of the usual standards of rational belief and decision making. However, in order to make sense of empathetic emotions and similar cases that do not seem to involve belief in corresponding evaluative judgments, we can modify this “judgmentalist” account by interpreting emotions as states of affect with evaluative propositional content: fear is discomfort that some situation poses a threat. If we also allow that the rational appropriateness of an emotional response need not be determined by the total body of evidence, in contrast to the way we assess judgments, the result is a perspectival account of emotional rationality. As factors leading to action, emotions involve an element of uncontrol that is typically seen as undermining rationality but can sometimes be part of a longer-term rational strategy to the extent that states of affect modify the agent’s practical options.

Keywords: emotion; emotional rationality; empathy; evaluative judgment; evaluative propositional content; fear; option; perspective; strategy; uncontrol

Chapter.  7417 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.