Presentation on theme: "Is there a role for EMOTION in ETHICS? The Traditional Rejection of a Role for Emotion in Ethics There is a long history of dividing reason from emotion."— Presentation transcript:
Is there a role for EMOTION in ETHICS? The Traditional Rejection of a Role for Emotion in Ethics There is a long history of dividing reason from emotion and arguing that “emotion” has no place in those tasks that require reasoning.
Two examples: In Plato’s Crito Socrates argues that our decisions should be based on reason rather than emotion. Kant argues that emotions detract [or at least don’t add] to the moral worth of an action.
Problems Seen with Including Emotions in Ethical Analysis Emotions only connect accidentally with *ethical interests*. They may provide a reason for acting, but not for what makes an action right. We are not impartial when we act on the basis of emotion. Emotion is unreliable as motive for action because it is often excessive and capricious. Our emotions are attached to objects and events beyond our control. This makes us vulnerable.
Aristotle’s view of emotion in ethics I He believed that virtue is expressed in fine emotions as well as fine actions. Both are morally praiseworthy aspects of character. Emotions aren’t just “feelings”, but cognitively rich mental states. They are about something that we represent in thought. For example: Anger requires an evaluation that you have been unjustly slighted.
Aristotle’s view of emotion in ethics II Emotions are evaluations of things that are important to us, that alert us to possibilities for moral choice Thus Aristotle believed that moral judgment is aided by the engagement of the proper emotions. He argues that part of our recognition of a moral dilemma depends on emotion.
How emotions CAN figure in morality I As modes of attention – helping us notice salient features. Preparing us for moral deliberation and choice. As a means of signaling value to oneself and others. Has a role in communicating information to others. Emotion is a mode of responding to conveying and expressing values
How emotions CAN figure in morality II Emotions help establish what we value and also reveal our values For example: The feeling of regret is found in moral conflicts. We feel regret as a “moral remainder” after the choice has been mad Emotions provide an affective memory – connecting us to stories – and creating some of what is valued. Emotions motivate action.