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Charlie Kurth
Western Michigan University
  1.  97
    What Sentimentalists Should Say About Emotions.Charlie Kurth - forthcoming - Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
    Recent work by emotion researchers indicates that emotions have a multi-level structure. Sophisticated sentimentalists should take note of this work—for it better enables them to defend a substantive role for emotion in moral cognition. Contra the rationalist criticisms of May 2018, emotions are not only able to carry morally relevant information but can also substantially influence moral judgment and reasoning.
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  2.  84
    Are Emotions Psychological Constructions?Charlie Kurth - 2018 - Philosophy of Science.
    According to psychological constructivism, emotions result from projecting folk emotion concepts onto felt affective episodes (e.g., Barrett 2017, LeDoux 2015, Russell 2004). Moreover, while constructivists acknowledge there’s a biological dimension to emotion, they deny that emotions are (or involve) affect programs. So they also deny that emotions are natural kinds. However, the essential role constructivism gives to felt experience and folk concepts leads to an account that’s extensionally inadequate and functionally inaccurate. Moreover, biologically-oriented proposals that reject these commitments are not (...)
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  3. Moral Anxiety and Moral Agency.Charlie Kurth - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 5:171-195.
    A familiar feature of moral life is the distinctive anxiety that we feel in the face of a moral dilemma or moral conflict. Situations like these require us to take stands on controversial issues. But because we are unsure that we will make the correct decision, anxiety ensues. Despite the pervasiveness of this phenomenon, surprisingly little work has been done either to characterize this “ moral anxiety” or to explain the role that it plays in our moral lives. This paper (...)
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  4. Are Emotions Perceptions of Value (and Why This Matters)?Charlie Kurth, Enter Author Name Without Selecting A. Profile: Haley Crosby & Enter Author Name Without Selecting A. Profile: Jack Basse - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    In Emotions, Values & Agency, Christine Tappolet develops a sophisticated, perceptual theory of emotions and their role in wide range of issues in value theory and epistemology. In this paper, we raise three worries about Tappolet's proposal.
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  5.  55
    Being Realistic About Motivation.Charlie Kurth - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-15.
    T.M. Scanlon’s ‘reasons fundamentalism’ is thought to face difficulties answering the normative question—that is, explaining why it’s irrational to not do what you judge yourself to have most reason to do (e.g., Dreier 2014a). I argue that this difficulty results from Scanlon’s failure to provide a theory of mind that can give substance to his account of normative judgment and its tie to motivation. A central aim of this paper is to address this deficiency. To do this, I draw on (...)
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  6. Anxiety, Normative Uncertainty, and Social Regulation.Charlie Kurth - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):1-21.
    Emotion plays an important role in securing social stability. But while emotions like fear, anger, and guilt have received much attention in this context, little work has been done to understand the role that anxiety plays. That’s unfortunate. I argue that a particular form of anxiety—what I call ‘practical anxiety’—plays an important, but as of yet unrecognized, role in norm-based social regulation. More specifically, it provides a valuable form of metacognition, one that contributes to social stability by helping individuals negotiate (...)
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  7. Anxiety: A Case Study on the Value of Negative Emotions.Charlie Kurth - forthcoming - In Christine Tappolet, Fabrice Teroni & Anita Konzelmann Ziv (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Negative Emotions: Shadows of the Soul. Routledge.
    Negative emotions are often thought to lack value—they’re pernicious, inherently unpleasant, and inconsistent with human virtue. Taking anxiety as a case study, I argue that this assessment is mistaken. I begin with an account of what anxiety is: a response to uncertainty about a possible threat or challenge that brings thoughts about one’s predicament (‘I’m worried,’ ‘What should I do?’), negatively valenced feelings of concern, and a motivational tendency toward caution regarding the potential threat one faces. Given this account of (...)
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  8. Emotion, Deliberation, and the Skill Model of Virtuous Agency.Charlie Kurth - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (3):299-317.
    A recent skeptical challenge denies deliberation is essential to virtuous agency: what looks like genuine deliberation is just a post hoc rationalization of a decision already made by automatic mechanisms (Haidt 2001; Doris 2015). Annas’s account of virtue seems well-equipped to respond: by modeling virtue on skills, she can agree that virtuous actions are deliberation-free while insisting that their development requires significant thought. But Annas’s proposal is flawed: it over-intellectualizes deliberation’s developmental role and under-intellectualizes its significance once virtue is acquired. (...)
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  9. What Do Our Critical Practices Say About the Nature of Morality?Charlie Kurth - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):45-64.
    A prominent argument for moral realism notes that we are inclined to accept realism in science because scientific inquiry supports a robust set of critical practices—error, improvement, explanation, and the like. It then argues that because morality displays a comparable set of critical practices, a claim to moral realism is just as warranted as a claim to scientific realism. But the argument is only as strong as its central analogy—and here there is trouble. If the analogy between the critical practices (...)
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  10. Expressivism and Innocent Mistakes.Charlie Kurth - 2014 - Ethics 124 (2):370-383.
    Allan Gibbard maintains that his plan-based expressivism allows for a particular type of innocent mistake: I can agree that your plan to X makes sense (say, because it was based on advice from someone you trust), while nonetheless insisting that it is incorrect (e.g., because you chose a bad advisor). However, Steve Daskal has recently argued that there are significant limitations in Gibbard’s account of how we can be mistaken about the normative judgments we make. This essay refines Gibbard’s account (...)
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  11. Logic for Morals, Morals From Logic.Charlie Kurth - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):161-180.
    The need to distinguish between logical and extra-logical varieties of inference, entailment, validity, and consistency has played a prominent role in meta-ethical debates between expressivists and descriptivists. But, to date, the importance that matters of logical form play in these distinctions has been overlooked. That’s a mistake given the foundational place that logical form plays in our understanding of the difference between the logical and the extra-logical. This essay argues that descriptivists are better positioned than their expressivist rivals to provide (...)
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  12. The Anxious Mind: An Investigation Into the Varieties and Virtues of Anxiety.Charlie Kurth - 2018 - Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    This book is about the various forms of anxiety—some familiar, some not—that color and shape our lives. The objective is two-fold. The first aim is to deepen our understanding of what anxiety is. The second aim is to re-orient thinking about the role of emotions in moral psychology and ethical theory. Here I argue that the current focus on backward looking moral emotions like guilt and shame leaves us with a picture that is badly incomplete. To get a better understanding (...)
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