Bridging the Gap between Rationality, Normativity, and Emotions

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Intentional explanation, according to Elster, seeks to elucidate an action by showing that it was intentionally conducted, in order to bring about certain goals . Intentional actions furthermore, are rational actions: they imply that agents establish a connection between the goals they target and the means that are appropriate to reach them, by way of different beliefs about the means, the goals and the environment. But how should we understand intentional actions in the light of philosophical research on emotions, rationality, and normativity? This question is the departure point of this article. Various philosophers have analyzed the relationships between rationality and emotion, those between emotion and normativity, and those between emotion and intentional action. Nonetheless, their theses are scattered and do not offer an integrative view on how rationality, normativity and emotions work from the standpoint of intentional explanation. By using de Sousa’s distinction between the epistemic and the strategic modes of rationality as a theoretical framework, this article proposes therefore to remedy this deficit by unifying these philosophical insights with the goal of elaborating a theory of intentional explanation which brings together rationality, normativity and emotions.
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First archival date: 2019-08-27
Latest version: 3 (2019-10-05)
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