Moral Philosophy Seminar (Monday - Week 8, TT23)

moral philosophy

Is love a moral emotion? Can love for a particular individual serve as a basis for moral concern, committing us to holding ethical attitudes toward others generally? I argue that familiar attempts to show that love is a moral emotion fall short, before presenting an alternative. Love is continuous with moral concern, I argue, because it is linked to our capacities for empathetic identification. Empathizing with our beloved leads us to see some things as good because they are good for her specifically, so that we recognize a value in her that makes respect and concern for her fitting. And because our love for someone gives her the power to reveal the same value in people we don’t love, it compels us to show basic consideration for a more general category of people, too. Someone who rejects morality, then, is not just morally bad, but deeply alone.

Moral Philosophy Seminar Convenor: Jeremy Fix