Relational Imperativism about Affective Valence

Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind 1:341-371 (2021)
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Affective experiences motivate and rationalize behavior in virtue of feeling good or bad, or their valence. It has become popular to explain such phenomenal character with intentional content. Rejecting evaluativism and extending earlier imperativist accounts of pain, I argue that when experiences feel bad, they both represent things as being in a certain way and tell us to see to it that they will no longer be that way. Such commands have subjective authority by virtue of linking up with a relevant background concern. The imperative content explains but doesn’t constitute world-directed motivation. It also rationalizes action indirectly, by giving rise to an affective seeming that represents the situation as calling for the authoritatively commanded behavior. One experience feels worse than another if its content tells us to bear a higher opportunity cost to comply with the command. Finally, experience-directed motivation is contingent on our being attitudinally (dis)pleased with the character of our experience.



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Antti Kauppinen
University of Helsinki

Citations of this work

Emotion and Attention.Jonathan Mitchell - 2022 - Philosophical Studies (1):1-27.
Telic Perfectionism and the Badness of Pain.Antti Kauppinen - forthcoming - In Mauro Rossi & Christine Tappolet (eds.), Perspectives on Ill-Being. Oxford University Press.
Creativity, Spontaneity, and Merit.Antti Kauppinen - forthcoming - In Alex King & Christy Mag Uidhir (eds.), Philosophy and Art: New Essays at the Intersection. Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
The Emotions.Nico H. Frijda - 1986 - Cambridge University Press.
Emotions, Value, and Agency.Christine Tappolet - 2016 - Oxford: Oxford University Press UK.

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