Beyond Belief: Toward a Theory of the Reactive Attitudes

Philosophical Papers 39 (3):373-399 (2010)
Abstract
Most moral theorists agree that it is one thing to believe that someone has slighted you and another to resent her for the insult; one thing to believe that someone did you a favor and another to feel gratitude toward her for her kindness. While all of these ways of responding to another's conduct are forms of moral appraisal, the reactive attitudes are said to 'go beyond' beliefs in some way. We think this claim is adequately explained only when we take seriously the fact that reactive attitudes are emotions. In this paper, we appeal to insights of the emotions literature to highlight one key way in which reactive attitudes go beyond beliefs: beliefs about a person and her morally significant conduct merely ascribe to the person the property of having performed a morally significant action, while reactive attitudes are ways of experiencing that person as having performed a morally significant action. We then suggest that appreciating this is a crucial first step toward understanding why reactive emotions play roles in our practices around responsibility that beliefs do not.
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DOI 10.1080/05568641.2010.538915
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References found in this work BETA
Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
“Screw You!” & “Thank You”.Coleen Macnamara - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):893-914.
Reactive Attitudes as Communicative Entities.Coleen Macnamara - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3):546-569.
Justification, Coercion, and the Place of Public Reason.Chad Van Schoelandt - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):1031-1050.

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