Normativity, Realism and Emotional Experience

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Journal Article
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Turp, Michael-John

Norms are standards against which actions, dispositions of mind and character, states of affairs and so forth can be measured. They also govern our behaviour, make claims on us, bind us and provide reasons for action and thought that motivate us. J. L. Mackie argued that the intrinsic prescriptivity, or to-be-pursuedness, of moral norms would make them utterly unlike anything else that we know of. Therefore, we should favour an error theory of morality. Mackie thought that the to-be-pursuedness would have to be built into mind-independent moral reality. One alternative, however, is that the to-be-pursuedness is built into our faculty of moral sensibility. There is a large body of empirical evidence demonstrating that the emotions play a central role in making moral judgments. I shall argue that this helps to explain how normative judgments are reliably and non-accidentally related to motivation. I shall also argue that emotional experience has the right structure and properties to provide us with a defeasible warrant for normative knowledge. The role of the emotions in our moral psychology does not obviously support anti-realism. Rather, emotional experience can be intentional, evaluative, evaluable, and quasi-perceptual. This makes emotional experience a plausible candidate for constituting a non-queer faculty of moral sensibility.

Emotion, Queerness, Normativity, Moral Realism
Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
Fields of Research::50 - Philosophy and religious studies::5003 - Philosophy::500306 - Ethical theory
Fields of Research::50 - Philosophy and religious studies::5003 - Philosophy::500311 - Philosophical psychology (incl. moral psychology and philosophy of action)
Fields of Research::50 - Philosophy and religious studies::5003 - Philosophy::500315 - Philosophy of mind (excl. cognition)