Response-Dependent Normative Properties and the Epistemic Account of Emotion
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It has become popular to conceive of emotions as epistemically valuable. According to a widely held view, emotions provide epistemic access to the normative significance of objects and events in our surroundings.1 Roughly, the proposal is that, in favourable circumstances, feeling fear or contempt towards x conveys that x has a certain negative import, while feeling admiration or pride towards x conveys that x is positively significant in some respect. I will refer to this view of emotion as the Epistemic View.
The Epistemic View is taken to articulate a strong pre-theoretical intuition. In particular, many of its proponents suppose that ordinary emotional experience is aptly characterized in terms of the apprehension of specific normative properties.2Moreover, the view holds theoretical appeal for those interested in developing a non-mysterious, quasi-empiricist epistemology of the normative. If the view is correct, there is no need to posit a special faculty of...
I am very grateful to Peter Königs, Tobias Wilsch, Hichem Naar and an anonymous referee for this journal for their insightful comments on an earlier draft of this article. I would also like to thank audiences at the workshop “Observational Properties” (University of Fribourg, September 2017) as well at the philosophy of mind-workshop of the philosophy of neuroscience-group (University of Tübingen, January 2017) and at Sabine Döring's research seminar (University of Tübingen, May 2017) for their helpful comments. This research was partly funded by a postdoc scholarship from the University of Fribourg (July-September 2017).