Review of Metaphysics 39 (1):47 - 55 (1985)

I WANT TO EXPLORE in this paper the relationship between ethical decisions, possible worlds, and certain types of emotions that Moravscik has called "Platonic attitudes." I will argue that what constitutes reflection in ethical decision-making involves imagining the possible world of another entity, a world that is contingent on an action that we have the power to perform. Ethical counterfactuals posit materially possible worlds or logically possible worlds and in both cases always include an affective element. That is, along with imagining the properties of a projected world, an ethical counterfactual incorporates a realization of how that world would be experienced. I will argue below that the affective element is present even in deontology. Both the emotional factor and the future orientation of the possibilities distinguish ethical counterfactuals from the purely epistemic possible worlds discussed by Kripke and others. We can make a further distinction between types of emotions and utilize Moravscik's point that emotional states based on properties that can be rationally spelled out possess special characteristics. One of these characteristics is that these states, and only these, serve as focal points for imagining the possible world of another person.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph198539195
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