Inappropriate emotions, marginalization, and feeling better

Synthese 200 (2):1-22 (2022)
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A growing body of work argues that we should reform problematic emotions like anxiety, anger, and shame: doing this will allow us to better harness the contributions that these emotions can make to our agency and wellbeing. But feminist philosophers worry that prescriptions to correct these inappropriate emotions will only further marginalize women, minorities, and other members of subordinated groups. While much in these debates turns on empirical questions about how we can change problematic emotion norms for the better, to date, little has been done by either side to assess how we might do this, much less in ways that are responsive to the feminists’ worries. Drawing on research in cognitive science, this paper argues that though the feminists’ worries are real, the leading proposals for remedying them are inadequate. It then develops an alternative strategy for reshaping problematic emotion norms—one that’s sensitive to the feminists’ concerns.


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Charlie Kurth
Western Michigan University

Citations of this work

Centering an Environmental Ethic in Climate Crisis.Charlie Kurth & Panu Pihkala - 2024 - In Sheron Fraser-Burgess, Jessica Heybach & Dini Metro-Roland (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Ethics and Education. Cambridge University Press. pp. 734-757.
The Moral Psychology of Anxiety.David Rondel (ed.) - 2024 - Moral Psychology of the Emotions.

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References found in this work

Wise Choices, Apt Feelings.Alan Gibbard - 1990 - Ethics 102 (2):342-356.
White Ignorance.Charles Mills - 2007 - In Shannon Sullivan & Nancy Tuana (eds.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. State Univ of New York Pr. pp. 11-38.
The Aptness of Anger.Amia Srinivasan - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (2):123-144.

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