Value and the regulation of the sentiments

Philosophical Studies 163 (1):3-13 (2013)
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“Sentiment” is a term of art, intended to refer to object-directed, irruptive states, that occur in relatively transient bouts involving positive or negative affect, and that typically involve a distinctive motivational profile. Not all the states normally called “emotions” are sentiments in the sense just characterized. And all the terms for sentiments are sometimes used in English to refer to longer lasting attitudes. But this discussion is concerned with boutish affective states, not standing attitudes. That poses some challenges that will be my focus here. Rational sentimentalism is a cousin of fitting attitude theories of value, but other fitting attitude theories appeal to attitudes that are widely assumed to be governable by certain kinds of judgments. The basic challenge is this: are these boutish sentiments the sorts of things that we can and do regulate in the ways that are required for treating ‘shameful’, ‘funny’, ‘disgusting’ and the like as values? In what follows I briefly sketch some necessary conditions on treating something as a value, from which it emerges that treating sentimental values as values requires regulating the sentiments for fittingness. The rest of the paper is devoted to two ways of understanding how such regulation might work. I argue first that sentiments are susceptible to regulation by evaluative judgment, though perhaps not in quite the same way that philosophers have thought “judgment-sensitive attitudes” are regulated by judgment. I then suggest more tentatively that sentiments are also susceptible to regulation for fittingness in a different way: by educating sensibilities



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Justin D'Arms
Ohio State University

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
The Wrong Kind of Reason.Pamela Hieronymi - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (9):437 - 457.
Mind, Value, and Reality.John Henry McDowell - 1998 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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