Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):897-915 (2016)

Michael Milona
Ryerson University
This paper offers a qualified defense of a historically popular view that I call sentimental perceptualism. At a first pass, sentimental perceptualism says that emotions play a role in grounding evaluative knowledge analogous to the role perceptions play in grounding empirical knowledge. Recently, András Szigeti and Michael Brady have independently developed an important set of objections to this theory. The objections have a common structure: they begin by conceding that emotions have some important epistemic role to play, but then go on to argue that understanding how emotions play that role means that there must be some alternative, emotion-independent route to obtaining knowledge of value. If there has to be such an emotion-independent route, then the perceptual analogy breaks down in a significant way. In this paper, I argue that the right ways for sentimental perceptualists to respond to each of these objections are revealed by thinking through how analogous objections applied to perception and the empirical domain would be answered. Although Szigeti's and Brady's objections should not persuade sentimental perceptualists to give up their view, the objections do put important constraints on what a form of the view has to be like in order to do exciting metaethical work.
Keywords Emotion  Perception  Sentimentalism  Rationalism  Moral Epistemology
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-016-9716-7
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References found in this work BETA

An Argument for Basic Emotions.Paul Ekman - 1992 - Cognition and Emotion 6 (3-4):169-200.
The Moral Problem.James Lenman - 1994 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1):125-126.
Moral Heuristics.Cass R. Sunstein - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):531-542.

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Citations of this work BETA

On Liking Aesthetic Value.Keren Gorodeisky - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (2):261-280.
A Perceptual Theory of Hope.Michael Milona & Katie Stockdale - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
Inference as Consciousness of Necessity.Eric Marcus - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (4):304-322.
Aesthetic Agency.Keren Gorodeisky - forthcoming - In Luca Ferrero (ed.), Routledge Handbook for the Philosophy of Agency. pp. 456-466.

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