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FILA9 Moral Psychology 3–5 ECTS
Implementation is also a part of open university teaching
Period I Period II Period III Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Intermediate studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Degree Programme in Philosophy
School of Social Sciences and Humanities

General description

Join in moodle, enrolment key: "morals".

According to a crude but common picture of the human mind, it is divided into the two opposing faculties of Reason and Passion. Some, like Plato, are said to believe that morality is a matter of Reason, and others, like Hume, that morality is based on Passion. Recent work in psychology makes a related distinction between reflective and intuitive processes, and emphasizes the importance of the latter in moral thought. In this seminar, we explore some of the philosophical implications of the alleged primacy of affective processes, and the very notion of a division between Reason and Passion. Perhaps emotions and attitudes are not only causally significant, but in part constitutive of good moral thinking and morally significant relationships. We ask the following kind of questions: Is deliberation necessary for responding to reasons? Does reflective endorsement determine where our true self lies? What is the significance of reactive attitudes for morality? Do emotions constitute perceptions of value? Should people sometimes feel the negative other-directed emotions of anger, contempt, and disgust, or are they inherently morally problematic? How about the self-conscious emotions of pride and shame? We will make use of contemporary, historical, and empirical literature in exploring these topics.


This class is an advanced seminar, which means that all participants are expected to do the readings for each meeting in advance and be able to answer at least those questions about the texts that are distributed in advance. It will be very difficult to participate without reading at least the starred text for each class. The texts will be made available electronically.


WARNING: Reading and reflecting on the texts below may make you a morally better person.


Timetable                                                                                                                             Topics (roughly)

Mon 26-Sep-2016 at 12-16, Päätalo A2B        Deliberation and Moral Worth, Accountability

Tue 27-Sep-2016 at 14-18, Päätalo A4             Accountability (continued), Epistemology

Wed 28-Sep-2016 at 12-14, Pinni B4117         Anger

Wed 28-Sep-2016 at 14-16, Päätalo A2B        Contempt

Thu 29-Sep-2016 at 12-14, Päätalo A2B          Disgust

Fri 30-Sep-2016 at 10-14, Päätalo A2A            Pride and Shame



1. Deliberation, Desire and Moral Worth


•                          Twain, Huckleberry Finn (excerpt)

•                          Jonathan Haidt and Selin Kesebir (2010), ‘Morality’, focus on pp. 797-814.

•                          Nomy Arpaly and Timothy Schroeder (2012), ‘Deliberation and Acting for Reasons’

•                          *Nomy Arpaly and Timothy Schroeder (1999), ‘Praise, Blame, and the Whole Self’


Additional readings:

o                          Jonathan Evans and Keith Stanovich (2013), ‘Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition: Advancing the Debate’.

o                          Julia Markovits (2013), ‘Acting for the Right Reasons’.


2. Moral Emotions: Accountability


•                          Strawson, Peter (1962), ‘Freedom and Resentment’.

•                          *Brendan Dill and Stephen Darwall (2014), ‘Moral Psychology as Accountability’.


Additional readings:

o                          Smith, Adam, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (excerpt).

o                          R. Jay Wallace (1994), ‘Emotions, Expectations, and Responsibility’ (from Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments).

o                          Allais, Lucy (2008), ‘Wiping the Slate Clean: The Heart of Forgiveness’.

o                          C. Daniel Batson (2008), ‘Moral Masquarades: Experimental Exploration of the Nature of Moral Motivation’.


3. Moral Emotions: Epistemology


•                          *Christine Tappolet (2016), ‘Emotions and Perceptions’

•                          Jerome Dokic and Stephane Lemaire (2013), ‘Are Emotions Perceptions of Value?’


Additional readings:

o                          Peter Railton (2014), ‘The Affective Dog and Its Rational Tale’.

o                          Antti Kauppinen (2013), ‘A Humean Theory of Moral Intuition’.

o                          Sabine Döring (2015), ‘Why Recalcitrant Emotions Are Not Irrational’.


4. Anger


•                          Aristotle, Rhetoric (excerpt).

•                          Bishop Butler, ‘Upon Resentment’.

•                          Marilyn Frye (1983), ‘A Note on Anger’.

•                          Leonard Berkowitz and Eddie Harmon-Jones (2004), ‘Toward an Understanding of the Determinants of Anger’.

•                          *Martha Nussbaum, ‘Anger: Downranking, Weakness, Payback’


Additional readings:

o                          Seneca, On Anger (excerpt).

o                          Paul Rozin, Laura Lowery, Jonathan Haidt, and Sumio Imada (1999), ‘The CAD Triad Hypothesis: A Mapping Between Three Moral Emotions (Contempt, Anger, Disgust) and Three Moral Codes (Community, Autonomy, Divinity).


5. Contempt


•                          Michelle Mason (2003), ‘Contempt as a Moral Attitude’.

•                          *Macalester Bell (2013), ‘The Moral Value of Contempt’ (from Hard Feelings).


Additional readings:

o                          Ronald de Sousa (forthcoming), ‘Is Contempt Redeemable?’



6. Disgust


•                          Dan Kahan (1998), ‘The Anatomy of Disgust in Criminal Law’. [Note: contains graphic descriptions of sexual violence]

•                          *Martha Nussbaum (2004), ‘Disgust and Our Animal Bodies’ (from Hiding from Humanity).


Additional readings:

o                          Leon Kass (1997), ‘The Wisdom of Repugnance’.

o                          Daniel Kelly and Nicolae Morar (2014), ‘Against the Yuck Factor: On the Ideal Role of Disgust in Society’.

o                          John William Fischer (2016), ‘Disgust as Heuristic’.


7. Pride


•                          *Gabriele Taylor (1985), ‘Pride and Humility’ (from Pride, Shame, and Guilt).

•                          Jessica Tracy, Azim Shariff, and Joey Cheng (2010), ‘A Naturalist’s View of Pride’

•                          Jeremy Fischer (2012), ‘Feeling Proud and Being Proud’.


Additional readings:

o                          Aquinas, Summa Theologica II.II.162.

o                          David Hume, ‘Of Pride and Humility’ (from Treatise of Human Nature).

o                          Robert C. Roberts (2009), ‘The Vice of Pride’.


8. Shame


•                          June Tangney and Jessica Tracy (2013), ‘Self-Conscious Emotions’ (especially pp. 1–21).

•                          *David Velleman (2001), ‘The Genesis of Shame’.


Additional readings:

o                          Deborah Stipek (1983), ‘A Developmental Analysis of Pride and Shame’.

o                          Bernard Williams (1993), ‘Shame and Autonomy’ (from Shame and Necessity)


Enrolment for University Studies

Please enrol in Moodle. Enrolment key: "morals".


Antti Kauppinen, Teacher responsible


26-Sep-2016 – 30-Sep-2016
Lectures 12 hours
Mon 26-Sep-2016 at 12-16, Päätalo A2B
Tue 27-Sep-2016 at 14-18, Päätalo A4
Wed 28-Sep-2016 at 12-14, Pinni B4117
Wed 28-Sep-2016 at 14-16, Päätalo A2B
Thu 29-Sep-2016 at 12-14, Päätalo A2B
Fri 30-Sep-2016 at 10-14, Päätalo A2A


Numeric 1-5.

Study materials

Recommended background reading:


Nomy Arpaly and Timothy Schroeder (2015), In Praise of Desire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Macalester Bell (2013), Hard Feelings: The Moral Psychology of Contempt. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Michael Brady (2013), Emotional Insight: The Epistemic Role of Emotional Experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stephen Darwall (2007), The Second-Person Standpoint. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Martha Nussbaum (2016), Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, and Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Christine Tappolet (2016), Emotions, Values, and Agency. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gabriele Taylor (1985), Pride, Shame, and Guilt: Emotions of Self-Assessment. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

David Velleman (2006), Self to Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Highly recommended fiction on these topics:


Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (pride, contempt)

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (shame)

Jean-Luc Godard, Le Mépris (contempt)

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn (moral worth)

Emile Zola, Germinal (anger)

Further information