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Passions and Emotions


James E. Fleming

Publication Year: 2012

Throughout the history of moral, political, and legal philosophy, many have portrayed passions and emotions as being opposed to reason and good judgment. At the same time, others have defended passions and emotions as tempering reason and enriching judgment, and there is mounting empirical evidence linking emotions to moral judgment. In Passions and Emotions, a group of prominent scholars in philosophy, political science, and law explore three clusters of issues: “Passion & Impartiality: Passions & Emotions in Moral Judgment”; “Passion & Motivation: Passions & Emotions in Democratic Politics”; and “Passion & Dispassion: Passions & Emotions in Legal Interpretation.” This timely, interdisciplinary volume examines many of the theoretical and practical legal, political, and moral issues raised by such questions.

Published by: NYU Press

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This volume of NOMOS —the fi fty-third in the series —emerged from papers and commentaries given at the annual meeting of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy (ASPLP) in Boston on December 29, 2010, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division. ...


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pp. xi-xii

Part I. Passion and Impartiality: Passions and Emotions in Moral Judgment

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1. Constructive Sentimentalism: Legal and Political Implications

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pp. 3-18

There is mounting empirical evidence linking emotions to moral judgment. Though open to competing interpretations, this evidence is best interpreted as supporting the kind of sentimentalist theory associated with philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment. ...

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2. Sentimentalism without Relativism

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pp. 19-37

We are now in the midst of an exciting multidisciplinary revival of work on the moral sentiments. As recently as 1989, a commentator could reasonably write that he knew “of no living author who has thought to call herself a sentimentalist.”1 The very existence of the present volume is a testament to just how much times have changed. ...

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3. Legislating with Affect: Emotion and Legislative Law Making

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pp. 38-76

The field of “law and emotion” takes on the ambitious task of “reckon[ing] with the myriad ways in which the law refl ects or furthers conceptions of how humans are, or ought to be, as emotional creatures.”1 In her taxonomy of the field, Terry Maroney states that one way has been the “legal actor approach.” ...

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4. The Nature and Ethics of Vengeful Anger

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pp. 77-124

Vengeful anger is the stuff of countless works of literature and art both great and small. Homer’s Iliad, one of the founding works of Western literature, begins with a particular word for anger (mênis) and is in some sense about anger and its epic consequences.2 ...

Part II. Passion and Motivation: Passions and Emotions in Democratic Politics

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5. Reason, Passion, and Democratic Politics: Old Conceptions—New Understandings—New Possibilities

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pp. 127-188

Humans are social creatures reliant on both emotionality and reasoning. As a consequence, these qualities and how we understand them are central to the empirical question of how democracy works and to the normative questions of how well it works. ...

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6. Emotion and Deliberation: The Autonomous Citizen in the Social World

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pp. 189-211

Emotion theory poses a challenge to several of the central verities of democratic theory. Most centrally, it challenges the dominant assumption that the passions play no beneficial role in the process of deliberative democracy. In challenging that assumption, emotion theory raises subsidiary questions ...

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7. Reliable Democratic Habits and Emotions

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pp. 212-225

As I understand George Marcus’s project presented here as well as in The Sentimental Citizen and in Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment, coauthored with Russell Neuman and Michael McKuen, the central goal is to challenge the idea that the aims of democracy are best advanced by supporting ...

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8. Democracy and the Nonsovereign Self

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pp. 226-240

George Marcus’s illuminating chapter uses recent findings in neuroscience to put pressure on some of the foundational assumptions of both descriptive and normative democratic theory. In light of his challenges, we need to rethink not only the capabilities that we typically take for granted in democratic citizens ...

Part III. Passion and Dispassion: Passions and Emotions in Legal Interpretation

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9. The Anti-Empathic Turn

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pp. 243-288

Justice, according to a broad consensus of our greatest twentieth-century judges, requires a particular kind of moral judgment, and that moral judgment requires, among much else, empathy—the ability to understand not just the situation but also the perspective of litigants on warring sides of a lawsuit. ...

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10. Systems and Feelings

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pp. 289-303

Robin West’s “The Anti-Empathic Turn”1 is an unusually provocative and important refl ection. Its central claim is that, in deciding cases, today’s judges are increasingly pressed—educated/trained/ inclined—to think of themselves not as doing justice between the parties before them ...

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11. Anti-Empathy and Dispassionateness in Adjudication

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pp. 304-314

Robin West’s depiction of the anti-empathic turn in adjudication1 is credible, detailed, and depressing. Most striking is the contrast she draws between the pervasive historical acceptance of the importance of empathy in a great judge and the prevalence of an anti-empathic jurisprudence today. ...

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12. Equity over Empathy

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pp. 315-330

In “The Anti-Empathic Turn,”1 Robin West inquires what accounts for the contemporary aversion to judicial empathy, an aversion represented not only by the political right’s response when President Obama extolled empathy but also by his own Supreme Court appointees’ avoidance of the term.2 ...


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pp. 331-338

E-ISBN-13: 9780814763490
E-ISBN-10: 0814760147
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814760147

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2012