Fitting Inconsistency and Reasonable Irresolution

In Berit Brogaard & Dimitria Electra Gatzia (eds.), The Philosophy and Psychology of Ambivalence: Being of Two Minds. New York, NY: Routledge (2020)
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The badness of having conflicting emotions is a familiar theme in academic ethics, clinical psychology, and commercial self-help, where emotional harmony is often put forward as an ideal. Many philosophers give emotional harmony pride of place in their theories of practical reason.1 Here we offer a defense of a particular species of emotional conflict, namely, ambivalence. We articulate an conception of ambivalence, on which ambivalence is unresolved inconsistent desire (§1) and present a case of appropriate ambivalence (§2), before considering two alternative defenses of emotional conflict (§3). We then argue that inconsistent desires can be fitting (§4) and that it can be reasonable not to resolve inconsistent desires (§5), before considering an objection (§6) and concluding the discussion (§7).

Author Profiles

Allan Hazlett
Washington University in St. Louis
Simon Feldman
Connecticut College


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