Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy

Monika Betzler

University of Munich

Inverse Akrasia: A Case for Reasoning about One’s Emotions

25 May 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: So-called “inverse akrasia” is meant to describe cases in which an agent acts against her better judgment out of an emotion. Such cases of akrasia are “inverse” as acting according to one’s countervailing emotions proves in the end to be the right thing to do. Cases of inverse akrasia challenge the assumption that akrasia is always irrational. This insight has motivated philosophers to draw further lessons from such cases. They maintain that (i) best judgments are nothing but beliefs (Arpaly), and that (ii) emotions can track reasons equally well and lead to a particular kind of understanding (Brady). The first view gives up on any plausible idea of agential guidance. The second view does not have the resources to distinguish between emotions that are reason-tracking and those that aren’t. So far, little work has been devoted to the question of what cases of inverse akrasia can teach us with respect to our reasoning. My aim is to examine how we can reason about our emotions so as to distinguish reason-tracking emotions from irrational emotions, and transform our best judgment on the basis of our reasoned emotions.