Volume 1, Issue 2, 2001
Emotions and Rationality
This paper examines the sense and extent to which emotions can be thought of as rational. Through considering a number of examples, it argues (a) that there is more than one way of understanding the claims that we often make about emotions being “rational” or “justified”; (b) that none of the models of rationality already available to us can singly account for all of the various senses in which we think of emotions as rational; yet (c) that they can do so jointly, that is, by each explicating at least one of these senses. Thus, in the end it is suggested that, despite it not being right to identify emotions with either beliefs or actions, there is no obvious reason to believe that the claims we make about the rationality of our emotions need to be understood by appeal to any separate model of rationality, specific to the emotions, additional to the “cognitive” and “strategic” models already available to us for understanding the rationality of other states like beliefs and judgements on the one hand, and actions on the other.