As part of our series providing a forum for some of the lost 2020 Pacific APA sessions, we will be hosting a discussion this coming Friday (May 8) on Ronald de Sousa’s paper “Emotions and the Ontology of Values.” de Sousa’s full paper is here, but to whet your appetite, we’ve got a short abstract below. Olivia Bailey (Tulane) has her commentary here. Both de Sousa and Bailey will be on hand for discussion on Friday, and we urge you to join in on it!
Abstract of “Emotions and the Ontology of Values”: Two features are commonly attributed to the identification of an emotion. One is its formal object, which specifies the emotion’s conditions of intrinsic appropriateness or ‘fittingness’. Another is a characteristic ‘action readiness’, based on some sort of ‘appraisal’. I focus here on the relation between them. I suggest that different emotions feature different relationships between formal objects and pertinent action tendencies. By attending to degrees of ‘practical specificity’ in the action tendencies entailed by cognitively sophisticated emotions, I argue that some emotions’ formal objects fail to set up any goals that would explain specific action tendencies. I argue that in such cases, exemplified notably by aesthetic emotions, they also fail to provide any non-trivial correctness conditions. As a result, we should accept that some classes of values differ from others in their ontological status.