Emotions, Values, and the Law

Emotions, Values, and the Law

Emotions, Values, and the Law

Emotions, Values, and the Law

Synopsis

Emotions, Values, and the Law brings together ten of John Deigh's essays written over the past fifteen years. In the first five essays, Deigh ask questions about the nature of emotions and the relation of evaluative judgment to the intentionality of emotions, and critically examines thecognitivist theories of emotion that have dominated philosophy and psychology over the past thirty years. A central criticism of these theories is that they do not satisfactorily account for the emotions of babies or animals other than human beings. Drawing on this criticism, Deigh develops analternative theory of the intentionality of emotions on which the education of emotions explains how human emotions, which innately contain no evaluative thought, come to have evaluative judgments as their principal cognitive component. The second group of five essays challenge the idea of the voluntary as essential to understanding moral responsibility, moral commitment, political obligation, and other moral and political phenomena that have traditionally been thought to depend on people's will. Each of these studies focuses on adifferent aspect of our common moral and political life and shows, contrary to conventional opinion, that it does not depend on voluntary action or the exercise of a will constituted solely by rational thought. Together, the essays in this collection represent an effort to shift our understanding ofthe phenomena traditionally studied in moral and political philosophy--from that of their being products of reason and will, operating independently of feeling and sentiment--to that of their being manifestations of the work of emotion.

Excerpt

Philosophy progresses very slowly. Its movement, like that of continents along the earth’s crust, becomes evident only after long periods of seemingly stationary activity. For much of the last century and continuing to the present, such movement has gone on in Anglo- American moral philosophy. While the standard and seemingly stalemated clashes between the believers in moral law and the believers in utilitarian ethics or between what Mill calls the intuitive and inductive schools of the discipline have continued to occupy center stage, a change in how we conceive of the phenomena that these clashes are about has been taking place in the background. in the space of about eight decades, the understanding of these phenomena as products of reason or will, operating independently of feeling and sentiment, has yielded ground to an understanding of them as manifestations of the work of emotion. Beginning with the first exposition of an emotive theory of moral language in Ogden and Richards, arguments in AngloAmerican moral philosophy concerning the nature of these phenomena have come increasingly to rest on theses about human emotions. and while such arguments were at first the exclusive property of the inductive school, the emergence of more complex conceptions of the emotions has enabled the intuitive school to make such arguments of its own. As a result, questions . . .

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