Transcendental Sentimentalism

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Broadly construed, moral sentimentalism is the position that human emotions or sentiments play a crucial role in our best normative or descriptive accounts of moral value or judgments thereof. In this paper, I introduce and sketch a defense of a new form of moral sentimentalism I call ‚ÄúTranscendental Sentimentalism‚ÄĚ. According to transcendental sentimentalism, having a sentimental response to an object is a necessary condition of the possibility of a subject counting as having non-inferential evaluative knowledge about that object. In unpacking each component of this position, I argue that it is both distinct from and more explanatorily attractive than the other approaches to explaining the relationship between emotion and moral thought, including what Kauppinen (2014, forthcoming) calls epistemological sentimentalism and explanatory sentimentalism. I conclude by offering a sketch of what I take to be the most promising strategy for demonstrating the truth of transcendental sentimentalism, suggesting an original form of transcendental argument. If successful, this form of argument would establish transcendental sentimentalism by demonstrating that not having a sentimental response to x disqualifies (in the normative sense) a person from counting as having non-inferential evaluative knowledge of x.
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First archival date: 2019-05-26
Latest version: 3 (2020-03-25)
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