chapter  2
10 Pages

Nasty Emotions and the Perception of Values

ByChristine Tappolet

This chapter discusses whether the existence of nasty negative emotions, such as jealousy, envy, or hatred, weakens the case for a general rehabilitation of emotion as essential to the functioning of reason. Tappolet’s discussion explores the impact of nasty emotions on one view that she herself favors and that underlies many attempts at rehabilitating the emotions: the view according to which an emotion is a kind of perceptual experience, which allows us to apprehend the values of things, such as their fearsomeness or admirableness. Tappolet distinguishes several sorts of affective faults of which emotions may be guilty and explores whether these faults threaten the view that emotions are perception-like experiences. According to her, they do not. As opposed to perceptual experiences, emotions may sometimes be irrational, painful and immoral, but this is to be expected in light of their distinctive characteristics: they are not entirely passive and their concern with values means that they can be intrinsically painful or pleasant as well as morally relevant.