Situations, emotions and character within a situated approach to emotions

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The chapter argues that recognition of reflexivity of emotions is a crucial element for understanding the role of emotions in moral situations because it deepens our understanding of how character, agency and responsibility are related to emotional experience in a decisive manner. The first part of the paper offers an analysis of how different theoretical perspectives of emotions deal with meta-emotions and their role moral situations and argues for the insightful theoretical position of a situated approach to emotions (Griffiths & Scarantino, 2009, Mendonça 2012, Stephen 2012, Stephen, Walrer & Wilutzky 2014). The second part of the paper takes up the discussion on the Situationist debate between virtue ethics and Moral Psychology (Upton 2009) and proposes that the resolution of the debate lies in clarifying situation as a technical term. In order to fully understand the notion of situation it is necessary to distinguish it from the notion of context as well as understand what is at stake in a certain situation. The theoretical distinction between situation and context will show that emotions play a determinant role in understanding the extremely important idea that one should resist certain pressures even at considerable cost to oneself in ethical situations and how to evaluate the severity of the situation as well as interpret the circumstances of its occurrence. The chapter concludes by showing that adopting a situated approach to emotions helps us to recognize the plural role of emotions (Mendonça/Sàágua, forthcoming) and opens the path to establish structural connections between different entities within the emotional realm and within morality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Interdisciplinary Landscapes in Morality and Emotion
EditorsSara Graça Da Silva
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781351387330
ISBN (Print)9781138500594
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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