Laura Silva (UCL) - 2014-15 Students

Epistemic Emotions

The view that emotion can only cause detrimental effects on reasoning is now mostly history. This is in large part due to the impact of Antonio Damasio’s work on patients with ventro-medial pre-frontal cortex (vmPFC) damage. Jesse Prinz has done much to square and support his proposal philosophically. The archaic view of emotion as conflicting with reason has been somewhat pushed back to a different level, in that the role of emotion has been found very relevant for practical but not theoretical reasoning. This view is in need of evaluation as little work is done on the epistemology of emotions and their possible role in epistemic evaluation. I aim to tackle this lacuna by arguing for a justificatory role for emotions in scientific reasoning, using aesthetic experiences evoked by scientific theories as a paradigm case of this.

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