The trouble with ambivalent emotions

Philosophy 85 (4):485-510 (2010)
Mixed or ambivalent emotions have long intrigued philosophers. I dissect various putative cases of emotional ambivalence and conclude that the alleged 'psychological problem' surrounding them admits of a solution. That problem has, however, often been conflated with 'moral problem' - of how one should react morally to such ambivalence — which remains active even after the psychological one has been solved. I discuss how the moral problem hits hardest at virtue ethics, old and new. I distinguish between particularist and generalist (Aristotelian) virtue ethics, and pay special attention to the latter. After discussing critically previous attempts at an Aristotelian solution of the 'moral problem' by McDowell, Stark and Carr, I pay special attention to the role of phronesis as a second-order meta-emotion and mediator, and consider how that may offer a way out of the impasse. I finally present some concluding remarks about the idea of a constructive dividedness of mind
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819110000434
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David Carr (2015). Is Gratitude a Moral Virtue? Philosophical Studies 172 (6):1475-1484.
Hyemin Han (2015). Purpose as a Moral Virtue for Flourishing. Journal of Moral Education 44 (3):291-309.
Olivier Massin (2014). Pleasure and Its Contraries. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (1):15-40.

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