Emotional Ethics

– Let’s define ’emotion’ in line with current neuroscience/psychology: as the ‘process by which the brain determines the value of an event’. (Ledoux 1998)  Emotion, not to be confused with feeling, is largely unconscious, while feeling is conscious.

– Meaning, on this definition, is closely tied to emotion. Indeed, emotion is key to meaning – if, for example, the ventromedial/subgenual cortex is damaged, then there is a serious loss of meaning.

– In order to ‘move ethically’ in the world, we have to evaluate and judge situations/events as well as prefer some things to others. In order to do this, we have to assign meaning to things/situations/events so that we can assign them value. This can only be done on the basis of emotion, thus: emotion—->meaning—->value—->ethics.

– Lurking in the background here is the fact/value distinction. Are there facts without value – ‘raw facts’, as it were? To ‘see’ a fact as a fact is to to already value the fact as a fact. Thus, the as a aspect = a value statement. This leads me to think that there are no value-free facts

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