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Open Access Intentional Feelings, Practical Agency, and Normative Commitments

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY licence.

A dominant approach to conceptualizing a role for emotions in practical agency has been to focus on a relation between emotions and reasons, whereby emotions are claimed to track reason-giving considerations via their intentional content. Yet, if we reflect on the phenomenology of emotional consciousness and take seriously a growing consensus that emotions involve intentional feelings then, I argue, such a reason-tracking approach at best only provides part of the story and at worst is fundamentally misguided. This does not mean that emotion has no role in practical agency, however. I tentatively propose that the normative category of commitments offers a promising alternative for thinking about the role of emotions in practical agency, an alternative that has the potential to do justice to intentional feelings while avoiding the problems of a reason-tracking approach.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Publication date: January 1, 2023

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