Moral Philosophy Seminar (Monday - Week 4, TT23)

moral philosophy

Grief often diminishes quickly, even though the dead continue to matter to us; anger often evaporates, even though the injustice to which it responds remains undiminished. Nonetheless, such accommodation seems sometimes acceptable: it would be a mistake to be persistently grieving or to be relentlessly angry. But how could it be acceptable, if the reasons for grief and anger remain significant?

I argue that the puzzle of accommodation is recalcitrant, because its source lies in a structural feature of consciousness: Since grief and anger are not about us, our apprehension of their temporal structure is at odds with our apprehension of the object of the emotion. This gives rise to irreconcilable double-vision.

Nonetheless, accommodation can be reasonable. However, we can only understand this from a theoretical standpoint on ourselves. From such a standpoint, we can understand that, given the role of the emotions in our lives, it is all right that we should accommodate ourselves to loss. Yet we cannot point to the reasons in light of which this would be all right. Reflection on the temporality of the emotions must leave us unreconciled.

Moral Philosophy Seminar Convenor: Jeremy Fix