Area of Specialization:
Philosophy of Mind, with important connections to Philosophy of Psychology, Theories of Rationality, Normative Epistemology, and Ethics
Website: (with short bio) http://www.isabelkaeslin.com/
Should we let ourselves be guided by our emotions when we make ethical or moral decisions? We can find various responses to this question in the history of philosophy. Today, several philosophers reply affirmatively. However, I argue that these affirmative responses have not gone far enough. They assign normative roles to the emotions merely in virtue of emotions being belief-like or cognitive (Nussbaum), imbued with reason (McDowell, Sherman), or as a second-best and fast way to decide whenever there are no better options (Brady). By contrast, I consider the normative role of a non-cognitive kind of emotion, a kind that is basic or primitive, and ask whether even such basic, non-cognitive emotions can guide moral and ethical decisions. I call these basic, non-cognitive emotions ‘emotional responses’, while I call the other ones ‘sophisticated emotions’. I ultimately leave it open whether the sophisticated emotions entail some sort of cognition, belief, or reason, while I specifically deny this for basic emotional responses.