Article/Publication Details

Do Emotions Have Directions of Fit?

Organon F, 2016, vol. 23, No 1, pp. 32-49.
Language: English
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My aim in this paper is to provide a series of arguments against the conception of emotional truth. If we accept the idea that emotions are eligible for being truth-apt, then we are conceding to the view that emotions are capable of having epistemic warrant. Many contemporary writers regard this kind of warrant as the concept of appropriateness or fittingness that is taken to be analogous to truth in the emotional realm (e.g. D’Arms – Jacobson 2000a, Nussbaum 2001, de Sousa 2002, Morton 2002, Goldie 2004). Yet, if we allow an analogy between appropriateness and truth, it would seem to allow that emotions are capable of being true or false. However, I argue against the concept of truth in the emotional realm, for there are some emotions that cannot be reduced to propositional attitudes which are eligible for being truth-apt, unlike beliefs, thoughts, and judgments. I shall demonstrate these cases in terms of recalcitrant emotions. Especially, I argue that some emotions are not eligible for being truth-apt by utilizing the notion of ‘direction of fit’. I argue that emotions have neither directions of fit, since emotion is only embedded in belief or desire. Finally, I conclude that appropriateness of emotions differs from truth or satisfaction by demon- strating that the norms of belief/desire differ from norms of emotion. Hence, I argue, it is a mistake to give an account of all these, namely, belief, desire and emotion in terms of rationality.


Appropriateness, belief, desire, direction of fit, emotion, satisfaction, truth

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