The Rationality of Emotional Change: Toward a Process View*

Oded Na'aman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

The paper argues against a widely held synchronic view of emotional rationality. I begin by considering recent philosophical literature on various backward-looking emotions, such as regret, grief, resentment, and anger. I articulate the general problem these accounts grapple with: a certain diminution in backward-looking emotions seems fitting while the reasons for these emotions seem to persist. The problem, I argue, rests on the assumption that if the facts that give reason for an emotion remain unchanged, the emotion remains fitting. However, I argue there are rationally self-consuming attitudes: affective attitudes that become less fitting the longer they endure while the facts that give reason for them persist. A widely held synchronic view of fitting affective attitudes denies that fittingness at a time depends on the agent's attitudes at different times and therefore denies that the fittingness of an affective attitude can depend on its duration. Once we reject the synchronic view, we may see that affective attitudes are often fitting due to the fitting processes of which they are part. These fitting processes explain the fitting diminution of backward-looking emotions as well as other diachronic aspects of the fittingness of emotions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)245-269
Number of pages25
JournalNous
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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