Carla Bagnoli

in Morality and the Emotions

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199577507
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731235 | DOI:

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The editor’s Introduction provides a comprehensive and accessible overview of the topic of emotions and morality, while connecting the volume’s essays to it. Part I offers a reconstruction of the philosophy of emotions since post-war analytic philosophy, which starts with Williams’ critique of analytic ethics’ neglect of emotions, puts this in a larger perspective by illustrating the need for an adequate moral psychology, and illustrates various subsequent attempts to restore emotions to their central place in ethics in the last fifty years. In particular, it focuses on the relation between emotions and practical reason, which is highlighted in Aristotelian accounts, the relation between emotions and motivation in Humean and neo-sentimentalist accounts, and the newly assessed resources of Kantian moral psychology. Part II registers a change in perspective in the philosophy of emotions due to the impact of the cognitive sciences. It reviews some methodological issues that arise because of a disagreement about the status of moral psychology. It considers how this disagreement affects the treatment of emotions in normative ethics; and it identifies new challenges to the idea of detached intellect that underlies some accounts of practical reasoning. Part III introduces the essays, explains their interconnections, and shows how they contribute to current debates about the place of emotions in practical rationality, and their role in the explanation of rational and autonomous action; the relation to value and the expressive, normative, and epistemological role that emotions play in morality; the standards of their assessment and accountability, and their relation to moral identity. There is a useful bibliography that covers major works in the moral philosophy of emotions of the last fifty years.

Keywords: emotions; reason; action; moral psychology; empirical psychology; cognitive sciences

Chapter.  17608 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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