Practical Reasoning and Emotion

Patricia Greenspan

in The Oxford Handbook of Rationality

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195145397
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:
Practical Reasoning and Emotion


This article 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. An alternative, “paradigm scenarios” approach would appeal to the causal history of an emotion as determining rationality. However, in order to assess the appropriateness of particular instances of emotion, there is a need to refer to their propositional content or some kind of claim they make about the situation. 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; practical rationality; judgment; decision making; rational strategy

Article.  7146 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind

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