•  3031
    Weakness of Will
    In Hugh LaFolette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Wiley-blackwell. pp. 4412-21. 2013.
    One difficulty in understanding recent debates is that not only have many terms been used to refer to weakness of will – “akrasia” and “incontinence” have often been used as synonyms of “weakness of will” – but quite different phenomena have been discussed in the literature. This is why the present entry starts with taxonomic considerations. The second section turns to the question of whether it is possible to freely and intentionally act against one’s better judgment.
  •  1909
    Introduction: Modularity and the Nature of Emotions
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32. 2006.
    In this introduction, we give a brief overview of the main concepts of modularity that have been offered in recent literature. After this, we turn to a summary of the papers collected in this volume. Our primary aim is to explain how the modularity of emotion question relates to traditional debates in emotion theory.
  •  1404
    ABSTRACT: Neo-sentimentalism is the view that to judge that something has an evaluative property is to judge that some affective or emotional response is appropriate to it, but this view allows for radically different versions. My aim is to spell out what I take to be its most plausible version. Against its normative version, I argue that its descriptive version can best satisfy the normativity requirement that follows from Moore’s Open Question Argument while giving an answer to the Wrong Kind …Read more
  •  1368
    Emotions often misfire. We sometimes fear innocuous things, such as spiders or mice, and we do so even if we firmly believe that they are innocuous. This is true of all of us, and not only of phobics, who can be considered to suffer from extreme manifestations of a common tendency. We also feel too little or even sometimes no fear at all with respect to very fearsome things, and we do so even if we believe that they are fearsome. Indeed, instead of shunning fearsome things, we might be attracted…Read more
  •  876
    It is generally accepted that there are two kinds of normative concepts : evaluative concepts, such as good, and deontic concepts, such as ought. The question that is raised by this distinction is how it is possible to claim that evaluative concepts are normative. Given that deontic concepts appear to be at the heart of normativity, the bigger the gap between evaluative and deontic concepts, the less it appears plausible to say that evaluative concepts are normative. After having presented the m…Read more
  •  819
    Rethinking Cognitive Mediation: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Perceptual Theory of Emotion
    with Bruce Maxwell
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 19 (1): 1-12. 2012.
    Empirical assessments of Cognitive Behavioral Theory and theoretical considerations raise questions about the fundamental theoretical tenet that psychological disturbances are mediated by consciously accessible cognitive structures. This paper considers this situation in light of emotion theory in philosophy. We argue that the “perceptual theory” of emotions, which underlines the parallels between emotions and sensory perceptions, suggests a conception of cognitive mediation that can accommodate…Read more
  •  716
    Fear and the focus of attention
    Consciousness and Emotion 3 (2): 105-144. 2002.
    Philosophers have not been very preoccupied by the link between emotions and attention. The few that did (de Sousa, 1987) never really specified the relation between the two phenomena. Using empirical data from the study of the emotion of fear, we provide a description (and an explanation) of the links between emotion and attention. We also discuss the nature (empirical or conceptual) of these links.
  •  668
    Facts and Values in Emotional Plasticity
    In Louis Charland & Peter Zachar (eds.), Fact and Value in Emotion, John Benjamins. pp. 101--137. 2008.
    How much can we shape the emotions we experience? Or to put it another way, how plastic are our emotions? It is clear that the exercise of identifying the degree of plasticity of emotion is futile without a prior specification of what can be plastic, so we first propose an analysis of the components of emotions. We will then turn to empirical data that might be used to assess the degree of plasticity of emotions.
  •  667
    Emotions and the intelligibility of akratic action
    In Sarah Stroud & Christine Tappolet (eds.), Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality, Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 97--120. 2003.
    After discussing de Sousa's view of emotion in akrasia, I suggest that emotions be viewed as nonconceptual perceptions of value (see Tappolet 2000). It follows that they can render intelligible actions which are contrary to one's better judgment. An emotion can make one's action intelligible even when that action is opposed by one's all-things-considered judgment. Moreover, an akratic action prompted by an emotion may be more rational than following one's better judgement, for it may be the judg…Read more
  •  566
    The Sense and Reference of Evaluative Terms
    In Petr Kotatko & John Biro (eds.), Frege: Sense and Reference one Hundred Years later, Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 113--127. 1995.
    What account of evaluative expressions, such as ‘is beautiful’, ‘is generous’ or ‘is good’, should a Fregean adopt? Given Frege’s claim that predicates can have both a sense and a reference in addition to their extension, an interesting range of only partially explored theoretical possibilities opens to Frege and his followers. My intention here is to briefly present these putative possibilities and explore one of them, namely David Wiggins’ claim that evaluative predicates refer to non-natural…Read more
  •  537
    Values and Emotions
    In Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory, Oxford University Press. pp. 80-95. 2015.
    Evaluative concepts and emotions appear closely connected. According to a prominent account, this relation can be expressed by propositions of the form ‘something is admirable if and only if feeling admiration is appropriate in response to it’. The first section discusses various interpretations of such ‘Value-Emotion Equivalences’, for example the Fitting Attitude Analysis, and it offers a plausible way to read them. The main virtue of the proposed way to read them is that it is well-supported …Read more
  •  533
    Are values objective or subjective? To clarify this question we start with an overview of the main concepts and debates in the philosophy of values. We then discuss the arguments for and against value realism, the thesis that there are objective evaluative facts. By contrast with value anti-realism, which is generally associated with sentimentalism, according to which evaluative judgements are grounded in sentiments, value realism is commonly coupled with rationalism. Against this common view, w…Read more
  •  527
    The Philosophy of Normativity, or How to Try Clearing Things Up a Little
    with Alan Voizard
    Dialogue 50 (2): 233-238. 2011.
    This introduction to a collection of papers on normativity provides a framework modelled on the division in ethics to approach normative issues. It suggests that is is useful to divide questions about normativity into five groups: normative ontology, normative semantics, normative epistemology, normative psychology, and substantial normative theory.
  •  474
    Emotions and Wellbeing
    Topoi 34 (2): 461-474. 2015.
    In this paper, we consider the question of whether there exists an essential relation between emotions and wellbeing. We distinguish three ways in which emotions and wellbeing might be essentially related: constitutive, causal, and epistemic. We argue that, while there is some room for holding that emotions are constitutive ingredients of an individual’s wellbeing, all the attempts to characterise the causal and epistemic relations in an essentialist way are vulnerable to some important objectio…Read more
  •  462
    Self-control and Akrasia
    In Meghan Griffith, Kevin Timpe & Neil Levy (eds.), Routledge Companion to Free Will, Routledge. forthcoming.
    Akratic actions are often being thought to instantiate a paradigmatic self-control failure. . If we suppose that akrasia is opposed to self-control, the question is how akratic actions could be free and intentional. After all, it would seem that it is only if an action manifests self-control that it can count as free. My plan is to explore the relation between akrasia and self-control. The first section presents what I shall call the standard conception, according to which akrasia and self-contr…Read more
  •  394
    A critical review of Robert C. Roberts' "Emotions: An Essay in Aid of Moral Psychology", Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  •  341
    À la rescousse du platonisme moral
    Dialogue 39 (3): 531-556. 2000.
    Moral platonism, the claim that moral entities are both objective and prescriptive, is generally thought to be a dead end. In an attempt to defend a moderate form of moral platonism or more precisely platonism about values, I first argue that several of the many versions of this doctrine are not committed to ontological extravagances. I then discuss an important objection due to John McDowell and developed by Michael Smith, according to which moral platonism is incoherent. I argue that objectivi…Read more
  •  272
    In reply to Geach's objection against expressivism, some have claimed that there is a plurality of truth predicates. I raise a difficulty for this claim: valid inferences can involve sentences assessable by any truth predicate, corresponding to 'lightweight' truth as well as to 'heavyweight' truth. To account for this, some unique truth predicate must apply to all sentences that can appear in inferences. Mixed inferences remind us of a central platitude about truth: truth is what is preserved in…Read more
  •  247
    Les Concepts de l'éthique
    with Ruwen Ogien
    Hermann Editeur. 2009.
    Qu’est-ce qui justifie des normes comme « Tu ne tueras point » ou «Nul ne peut être soumis à la torture »? C’est autour de cette question fondamentale que se sont constituées les trois grandes théories morales : l’éthique des vertus (inspirée d’Aristote), l’éthique des devoirs (mise en forme par Kant) et l’éthique des conséquences (matrice de l’utilitarisme). Qu’est-ce qui distingue ces trois approches ? Y a-t-il des raisons décisives d’en préférer une ? Dans ce livre, Ruwen Ogien et Christine …Read more
  •  245
    This paper replies to an argument due to Greenspan (1980) and to Morton (2002) against the view that emotions are perceptions of values. The argument holds that this view cannot make room for ambivalent emotions both of which are appropriate, such as when it is appropriate to feel fear and attraction towards something. This would make for a contradiction, for appropriate emotions are supposed to present things as they are. The problem, I argue, is that this line of thoughts forgets that things c…Read more
  •  234
    Introduction: Les vertus de l’imagination
    Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 5 (1): 23-25. 2010.
  •  232
    Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2003.
    Among the many practical failures that threaten us, weakness of will or akrasia is often considered to be a paradigm of irrationality. The eleven new essays in this collection, written by an excellent international team of philosophers, some well-established, some younger scholars, give a rich overview of the current debate over weakness of will and practical irrationality more generally. Issues covered include classical questions such as the distinction between weakness and compulsion, the conn…Read more
  •  184
    Virtue, Happiness, and Wellbeing
    The Monist 99 (2): 112-127. 2016.
    What is the relation between virtue and wellbeing? Our claim is that, under certain conditions, virtue necessarily tends to have a positive impact on an individual’s wellbeing. This is so because of the connection between virtue and psychological happiness, on the one hand, and between psychological happiness and wellbeing, on the other hand. In particular we defend three claims: that virtue is constituted by a disposition to experience fitting emotions, that fitting emotions are constituents of…Read more
  •  161
    Truth pluralism and many-valued logics: A reply to Beall
    Philosophical Quarterly 50 (200): 382-385. 2000.
    Mixed inferences are a problem for those who want to combine truth-assessability and antirealism with respect to allegedly nondescriptive sentences: the classical account of validity has apparently to be given up. J.C. Beall's response is that validity can be defined as the conservation of designated valued (Beall 2000). I argue that since it presupposes a truth predicate that can be applied to all sentences, this suggestion is not helpful. I also consider problems arising from mixed conjunction…Read more
  •  158
    La vertu
    In Emma Dayer-Tieffenbach & Julien Deonna (eds.), Dictionnaire des valeurs, Edition D’ithaque. forthcoming.
    I argue on the basis of a discussion of Aristotelian and Humean accounts of virtue that virtue is fundamentally a disposition to undergo appropriate emotions.
  •  155
    Consider a typical fear episode. You are strolling down a lonely mountain lane when suddenly a huge wolf leaps towards you. A number of different interconnected elements are involved in the fear you experience. First, there is the visual and auditory perception of the wild animal and its movements. In addition, it is likely that given what you see, you may implicitly and inarticulately appraise the situation as acutely threatening. Then, there are a number of physiological changes, involving a v…Read more
  •  148
    Emotions, Value, and Agency
    Oxford University Press UK. 2016.
    Emotions are crucial to human agency. But what are emotions? And how do they relate to agency? The aim of this book is to spell out an account of emotions, which is grounded on analogies between emotions and sensory experiences, and to explore the implications of this account for our understanding of human agency. The central claim is that emotions consist in perceptual experiences of values, such as the fearsome, the disgusting or the admirable. A virtue of this account is that it affords a bet…Read more
  •  133
    This paper argues that Deonna and Teroni's attitudinal theory of emotions faces two serious problems. The first is that their master argument fails to establish the central tenet of the theory, namely, that the formal objects of emotions do not feature in the content of emotions. The second is that the attitudinal theory itself is vulnerable to a dilemma. By pointing out these problems, our paper provides indirect support to the main competitor of the attitudinal theory, namely, the perceptual t…Read more
  •  119
    Truth as One and Many, by Michael P. Lynch.: Book Reviews (review)
    Mind 119 (476): 1193-1198. 2010.
    For someone who is inclined towards truth monism and moral realism, reading this book is like journeying through a foreign country: somewhat disconcerting, but nonetheless enjoyable. Michael Lynch’s world is a stoutly naturalistic world, in which representation is conceived in terms of causal or teleological relations. This is a world in which it is hard to fit normative facts. Thus, the reader is told that there are good reasons to think that ‘moral properties, should they exist, would not be t…Read more