ABSTRACT: Drawing on clinical practice with patients whose symptoms include “inappropriate” emotions and actions that cause harm, I argue for two related but distinct claims. First, that our common practice of morally reprimanding and criticizing people for their emotions is unfounded. Second, that moralism about the emotions – understood as the claim that there is an intrinsically morally right and wrong way to feel – is false. Time permitting, I will explore the significance of these claims for theories of moral responsibility that appeal to the reactive attitudes.
BIO: Hanna Pickard is Professor in Philosophy of Psychology at the University of Birmingham, UK and a Visiting Research Scholar in the Program of Cognitive Science, Princeton University 2017-19. In addition to her academic work, from 2007-17 she worked in a Therapeutic Community for people with personality and related disorders. Website: www.hannapickard.com.
Chair: Elizabeth Harman
Respondent: Monique Wonderly