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The Oxford Handbook of Rationality$
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Alfred R. Mele and Piers Rawling

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195145397

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195145399.001.0001

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PRACTICAL REASONING AND EMOTION

PRACTICAL REASONING AND EMOTION

Chapter:
(p.206) chapter 11 PRACTICAL REASONING AND EMOTION
Source:
The Oxford Handbook of Rationality
Author(s):

Patricia Greenspan (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195145399.003.0011

Greenspan discusses emotion as an element of practical rationality. One approach links emotion to evaluative judgment and applies some variant of the usual standards of rational belief and decision making. However, in order to make sense of empathetic emotions and similar cases that do not seem to involve belief in corresponding evaluative judgments, we can modify this “judgmentalist” account by interpreting emotions as states of affect with evaluative propositional content: fear is discomfort that some situation poses a threat. If we also allow that the rational appropriateness of an emotional response need not be determined by the total body of evidence, in contrast to the way we assess judgments, the result is a perspectival account of emotional rationality. As factors leading to action, emotions involve an element of uncontrol that is typically seen as undermining rationality but can sometimes be part of a longer-term rational strategy to the extent that states of affect modify the agent’s practical options.

Keywords:   emotion, emotional rationality, empathy, evaluative judgment, evaluative propositional content, fear, option, perspective, strategy, uncontrol

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