David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (4):425 - 454 (2008)
Aristotle has famously made the claim that having the right emotion at the right time is an essential part of moral virtue. Why might this be the case? I consider five possible relations between emotion and virtue and argue that an adequate answer to this question involves the epistemic status of emotion, that is, whether the perceptual awareness and hence the understanding of the object of emotion is like or unlike the perceptual awareness of an unemotional awareness of the same object. If an emotional awareness does not have a unique character, then it is unlikely that emotions provide an understanding that is different from unemotional states of awareness: they are perhaps little more than “hot-blooded” instances of the same understanding. If, on the other hand, an emotional state involves a perceptual awareness that is unique to the emotion, then emotions are cognitively significant, providing an understanding of the object of the emotion that is absent in a similar but unemotional episode of awareness. I argue the latter and substantiate the claim that emotions are essential to moral virtue because they can be essential to a full understanding of the situations that they involve. In such cases, emotions are not merely a symptom of the possession of an adequate understanding, but are rather necessary for having an adequate understanding.
|Keywords||Aristotle Awareness Cognition Emotion Focus Import Nussbaum Understanding Virtue|
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References found in this work BETA
Jesse J. Prinz (2004). Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of the Emotions. Oxford University Press.
Martha C. Nussbaum (2001). Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. Cambridge University Press.
William James (1890/1981). The Principles of Psychology. Dover Publications.
Peter Goldie (2000/2002). The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
David Bourget (2015). The Role of Consciousness in Grasping and Understanding. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (1).
Roger A. Newham (2015). Virtue Ethics and Nursing: On What Grounds? Nursing Philosophy 16 (1):40-50.
Christopher Grau (2010). American History X, Cinematic Manipulation, and Moral Conversion. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 34 (1):52-76.
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