Project

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Imagination, Emotion and Value

English title Imagination, Emotion and Value
Applicant Soldati Gianfranco
Number 129752
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de Philosophie Faculté des Lettres Université de Fribourg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.01.2011 - 31.05.2014
Approved amount 801'103.00
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Keywords (10)

Epistemology; Aesthetics; Metaethics; History of Philosophy; imagination; value; emotion; pistemology; philosophy of mind; aethetics

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The aim of our project is to explore significant connections between the imagination, emotion, and experiences and judgements of value. The focus will be on moral and aesthetic values, but we intend the scope of our investigation to have implications for values in general, including how we 'apprehend' them, their metaphysical status, and the norms governing our judgements about them. Our working hypothesis is that experiences and judgements of moral and aesthetic value are intimately connected with certain capacities and uses of imagination and with our emotions. We wish to investigate just what this connection(s) consists in, without simultaneously attempting to develop a fully-fledged theory either of the imagination or of the emotions. Instead, we shall rely in various places on a number of philosophical accounts of the imagination currently available, as well as relevant work in empirical psychology and neuroscience, and we shall focus on certain prominent 'perceptual theories' of emotion, as outlined in the detailed descriptions of the sub-projects below. Nonetheless, our work will have important bearings on how we think of imagination and emotion, particularly with respect to the connections between them and the norms governing their operation in certain spheres of value judgement. The project is divided into four sub-projects intended to explore certain areas in depth whilst also drawing on each other to ensure the investigation of significant connections between a wide array of different issues. A distinctive feature of our project is that it contains an historical dimension, namely the examination of the role of the imagination and emotions in Hume and Kant's ethics and aesthetics respectively. This is driven by the belief that such an investigation can inform, and enrich, contemporary debates on these issues, for the theories of Hume and Kant have been amongst the most influential in shaping contemporary debates on aesthetic and moral value, on emotion and on the imagination. In particular, the ways in which both Hume and Kant introduce imagination and emotion into moral and aesthetic evaluations can be interpreted as including certain 'expressivist' elements that bear importantly on the themes pursued in the non-historical, systematic subprojects on moral and aesthetic value. Moreover, Hume and especially Kant are not always easy to interpret, and a good understanding of the systematic issues can help to delineate and classify the different readings, to assess their value as philosophical theories and perhaps also to assess which are the most adequate / charitable readings of Hume and Kant.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Emotion and Value
Todd Cain (2014), Emotion and Value, in Philosophy Compass, 1.
Literatur, Aufmerksamkeit und epistemische Emotionen
Todd Cain (2014), Literatur, Aufmerksamkeit und epistemische Emotionen, in Demmerling Christopher & Vendrell Ferran Ingrid (ed.), Akademie Verlag, Berlin, 1.
Why We Do Not Perceive Aesthetic Properties
Todd Cain (2014), Why We Do Not Perceive Aesthetic Properties, in Reboul Anne (ed.), 105-117.
Attending Emotionally to Fiction
Todd Cain (2013), Attending Emotionally to Fiction, in Journal of Value Inquiry, 449.
Attention, Negative Valence, and Tragic Emotions
Todd Cain (2013), Attention, Negative Valence, and Tragic Emotions, in Levinson Jerrold & Destre Pierre (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, London, 1.
Imagination, Attention, and Depiction
Todd Cain (2013), Imagination, Attention, and Depiction, in Rivista di Estetika, 89.
Intentionality of Emotion
Todd Cain (2013), Intentionality of Emotion, in Encyclopedia of the Mind, 1.
Kant on the Possibility of Ugliness
Cohen Alix (2013), Kant on the Possibility of Ugliness, in British Journal of Aesthetics, 199.
Aesthetic Disagreement
Todd Cain (2012), Aesthetic Disagreement, in The Philosophers Magazine, (59), 90.
Dying on the Vine: How phylloxera transformed wine
Todd Cain (2012), Dying on the Vine: How phylloxera transformed wine, in Metascience, 21(3), 759-761.
Expression and Objectivity in the Case of Wine
Todd Cain (2012), Expression and Objectivity in the Case of Wine, in Rivista di Estetica, 52(51), 95-116.
Imagination, Expressiveness, and Expression in the Case of Wine
Todd Cain (2012), Imagination, Expressiveness, and Expression in the Case of Wine, in Zangwill Nick & Hamilton Andy (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, London, 1.
Kant’s curious catalogue of human frailties
Cohen Alix (2012), Kant’s curious catalogue of human frailties, in S. Shell & R. Velkley (ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 144-162.
Percevoir l’expression émotionelle dans les objets inanimés : l’example du vin
Todd Cain (2012), Percevoir l’expression émotionelle dans les objets inanimés : l’example du vin, in Diaolgue: Canadian Review of Philosophy, 51(01), 129-139.
Sociabilité, art de la fête et vertu chez Rousseau et Kant
Cohen Alix (2012), Sociabilité, art de la fête et vertu chez Rousseau et Kant, in C. Van Staen (ed.), Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, 245-255.
The Importance of the Aesthetic
Todd Cain (2012), The Importance of the Aesthetic, in D. Fennell (ed.), Routledge, London, n/a.
Critical Guide to Kant’s Lectures on Anthropology
Cohen Alix (ed.), Critical Guide to Kant’s Lectures on Anthropology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Emotion and Value
Todd Cain (ed.), Emotion and Value, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Emotions in Kant’s Metaphysics: The Interests, Needs and Desires of Reason
Cohen Alix, Emotions in Kant’s Metaphysics: The Interests, Needs and Desires of Reason, in n/a (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, London, n/a-n/a.
Imagination, Fantasy, and Sexual Desire
Todd Cain, Imagination, Fantasy, and Sexual Desire, in H. Maes & J. Levinson (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Kant and the Human Sciences
Cohen Alix, Kant and the Human Sciences, in Estudos Kantianos, 1.
Kant on Doxastic Voluntarism and its Implications for the Ethics of Belief
Cohen Alix, Kant on Doxastic Voluntarism and its Implications for the Ethics of Belief, in n/a (ed.), n/a, n/a.
Kant on Emotions and Value
Cohen Alix (ed.), Kant on Emotions and Value, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Kant on the Ethics of Belief
Cohen Alix, Kant on the Ethics of Belief, in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 1.
Kant’s Anthropology and its Method: The epistemic uses of teleology in the natural world and beyond
Cohen Alix, Kant’s Anthropology and its Method: The epistemic uses of teleology in the natural world and beyond, in Altman Matthew (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, London, 1.
L’influence de la théorie de l’imagination de Hume sur sa philosophie politique
Christen Julien, L’influence de la théorie de l’imagination de Hume sur sa philosophie politique, in Actes du colloque “Imagination, coutume, rapports de pouvoir” (forthcoming), Université Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonnen/a, n/a.
On the Emotions as Aids to Morality: The Case of Honor’
Cohen Alix, On the Emotions as Aids to Morality: The Case of Honor’, in Clewis Robert (ed.), de Gruyter, Berlin, 1.
Relatively Fitting Emotions and Apparently Objective Values
Todd Cain, Relatively Fitting Emotions and Apparently Objective Values, in Todd Cain & Roeser Sabine (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Representation and Ephemerality in Olfaction
Todd Cain, Representation and Ephemerality in Olfaction, in Crowther Thomas & MacCuhmaill Clare (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
The Anthropology of Cognition and its Pragmatic Implications
Cohen Alix, The Anthropology of Cognition and its Pragmatic Implications, in n/a (ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
The Anthropology of Cognition and its Pragmatic Implications
Cohen Alix, The Anthropology of Cognition and its Pragmatic Implications, in Cohen Alix (ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1.
Thinking about the Emotions: A Philosophical History
Cohen Alix (ed.), Thinking about the Emotions: A Philosophical History, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
UNISINOS Philosophy Conference Talk given at a conference Buck-passing, emotions, and essential contestability 10.07.2014 Porto Alegre, Brazil Todd Cain;
Kant and the Laws of Nature Talk given at a conference Response to 'The Modal Condition on Knowledge and Coherence with the Laws' 30.06.2014 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Cohen Alix;
Aristotelian Society Talk given at a conference Kant on the Ethics of Belief 25.06.2014 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Cohen Alix;
Experience and Reality Workshop Talk given at a conference From Emotional Experience to Evaluative Reality: Values and the Expression of Emotions 01.06.2014 Ovronnaz, Switzerland Bohnert Jean;
Moral Emotions and Intuitions Talk given at a conference Moral Emotions, Moral Value, Moral Relativism 28.05.2014 The Hague, Netherlands Todd Cain;
Paton Colloquium in Kantian Ethics Talk given at a conference Response to 'Applying the Concept of the Good' 15.05.2014 St Andrews, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Cohen Alix;
Conference on ‘Self-Knowledge and the Philosophy of Mind: Kantian Questions and Approaches' Talk given at a conference Response to 'Transparency and Reflection' 18.04.2014 Boston, United States of America Cohen Alix;
Relativism Workshop Talk given at a conference Aesthetic Relativism 19.03.2014 Lyon, France Todd Cain;
Kant, Nature and Empirical Laws Talk given at a conference Kant on Teleology and Nature 20.12.2013 Jerusalem, Israel Cohen Alix;
11e Colloque de la Société des Etudes Kantiennes en Langue Française Talk given at a conference Le rôle des sentiments moraux dans l’éthique kantienne: Le complément nécessaire à la raison pratique 10.10.2013 Bahia, Brazil Cohen Alix;
European Society for Philosophy and Psychology Talk given at a conference Emotional Objectivity, Attention, and Evaluative Phenomenology 29.07.2013 Granada, Spain Todd Cain;
European Society for Aesthetics Talk given at a conference Literature and Epistemic Feelings 25.06.2013 Prague, Czech Republic Todd Cain;
Smell, Science, and Aesthetics Workshop Talk given at a conference The Structural Ephemerality of Smell 01.05.2013 Barcelona, Spain Todd Cain;
Colloque de recherche Individual talk La connaissance et les émotions chez Kant 18.04.2013 Neuchatel, Switzerland Cohen Alix;
Rivista di Estetica Launch Talk given at a conference Taste and Objectivity 01.11.2012 Pollenzo, Italy Todd Cain;
Thumos Meeting Talk given at a conference Emotional Objectivity 18.10.2012 Geneva, Switzerland Todd Cain;
Thumos Meeting, University of Geneva Individual talk Self-Knowledge 01.10.2012 Geneva, Switzerland Soldati Gianfranco;
End of Term Workshop Individual talk Alethic Relativism and logical inconsistency 12.06.2012 Coglio, Switzerland Bohnert Jean; Todd Cain; Soldati Gianfranco;
End of the Term Workshop, University of Fribourg Individual talk Explaining Disagreement about Matters of Taste: contextualism, relativism and expressivism 01.06.2012 Coglio, Switzerland Soldati Gianfranco; Todd Cain; Bohnert Jean;
Monday Colloquium, University of Fribourg Individual talk Metaethical Sentimentalism and Rationality 14.05.2012 Fribourg, Switzerland Todd Cain; Bohnert Jean; Soldati Gianfranco;
Fribourg Philosophy Colloquium Individual talk Imagination, Attention & Transparency 01.01.2012 Fribourg, Switzerland Soldati Gianfranco; Bohnert Jean; Todd Cain;
Sinergia Meeting, University of Fribourg Talk given at a conference Disagreement, Irrationality and Negation: a cluster of problems for expressivists 01.11.2011 Fribourg, Switzerland Bohnert Jean;
London Aesthetics Forum Talk given at a conference Objectivity, Relativism, and Disagreements about Taste 14.10.2011 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Todd Cain;
Dutch Society of Aesthetics Conference Talk given at a conference Aesthetic Relativism 13.05.2011 Ghent, Netherlands Todd Cain;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Workshop on Expressivism 12.12.2012 Fribourg, Switzerland
Anti-Realism in Metaethics (Conference) 11.12.2012 Geneva, Switzerland
Emotion, Belief, and Imagination 08.09.2011 Gargnano, Italy
European Society for Aesthetics Annual Conference 25.06.2011 University of Minho, Portugal
Emotion, Self, and Time 20.05.2011 Geneva, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Si j'ai raison, as-tu forcément tort? Universitas Western Switzerland 2012

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
132075 Psychologie morale, rationalité pratique et liberté dans la philosophie du 17e et du début du 18e siècle 01.03.2011 ProDoc
151679 Moral Disagreement and the Sentiments: reframing the realism vs. anti-realism debate in meta-ethics in the light of sentimentalist theories of moral judgment 01.01.2014 Doc.Mobility

Abstract

The aim of our project is to explore significant connections between the imagination, emotion, and experiences and judgements of value. The focus will be on moral and aesthetic values, but we intend the scope of our investigation to have implications for values in general, including how we ‘apprehend’ them, their metaphysical status, and the norms governing our judgements about them. Our working hypothesis is that experiences and judgements of moral and aesthetic value are intimately connected with certain capacities and uses of imagination and with our emotions. We wish to investigate just what this connection(s) consists in, without simultaneously attempting to develop a fully-fledged theory either of the imagination or of the emotions. Instead, we shall rely in various places on a number of philosophical accounts of the imagination currently available, as well as relevant work in empirical psychology and neuroscience, and we shall focus on certain prominent ‘perceptual theories’ of emotion, as outlined in the detailed descriptions of the sub-projects below. Nonetheless, our work will have important bearings on how we think of imagination and emotion, particularly with respect to the connections between them and the norms governing their operation in certain spheres of value judgement. The project is divided into four sub-projects intended to explore certain areas in depth whilst also drawing on each other to ensure the investigation of significant connections between a wide array of different issues. A distinctive feature of our project is that it contains an historical dimension, namely the examination of the role of the imagination and emotions in Hume and Kant’s ethics and aesthetics respectively. This is driven by the belief that such an investigation can inform, and enrich, contemporary debates on these issues, for the theories of Hume and Kant have been amongst the most influential in shaping contemporary debates on aesthetic and moral value, on emotion and on the imagination. In particular, the ways in which both Hume and Kant introduce imagination and emotion into moral and aesthetic evaluations can be interpreted as including certain ‘expressivist’ elements that bear importantly on the themes pursued in the non-historical, systematic sub- projects on moral and aesthetic value. Moreover, Hume and especially Kant are not always easy to interpret, and a good understanding of the systematic issues can help to delineate and classify the different readings, to assess their value as philosophical theories and perhaps also to assess which are the most adequate / charitable readings of Hume and Kant. The first sub-project consists of two parts: first, the elaboration of a Humean account of the nature of the imagination, the analysis of which will encompass both its epistemic and its ethical dimensions. Second, the analysis of the role of sympathy in moral judgments, with particular emphasis on the role of imagination and emotions in the process of forming impressions of others’ feelings. The second sub-project, informed by a close reading of Kant as well as of the Kantian literature, investigates how the realm of the empirical can deal with the ways in which transcendental norms that govern human life can be instantiated. Through the examination of the role of the imagination and emotions in the application of moral rules, it will explore the hypothesis that these empirical capacities alone can address the problem of the gap between abstract judgments and deliberation on the one hand, and applied judgments and action on the other. The third sub-project, drawing on the work of the first two sub-projects, examines the role of imagination in emotional experience generally, and more specifically in relation to moral judgement and practical reasoning. It will examine the hypothesis that emotions ‘apprehend’ values partly as a result of an interaction between imagination and perception and, in light of this, will assess the merits of sentimentalist and expressivist theories of moral judgement. The final sub-project, drawing on all three previous sub-projects, focuses on aesthetic value, with the aim of showing that the imagination plays a central role in aesthetic judgement and experience that explains the nature of aesthetic emotions, the value of aesthetic experience, the normative nature of aesthetic judgement, and that links aesthetic value closely to moral and cognitive value. The main aim of this sub-project is to outline an expressivist theory of aesthetic judgement. All of the issues explored in each subject lie at the heart of value theory, have significant implications for the metaphysics and epistemology of values, and for other areas in the philosophy of mind and perception, as well as ethics and aesthetics. Despite this, however, the roles of imagination and emotion in value judgements have been remarkably under-explored and remain very underdeveloped. Part of the reason for this is undoubtedly the complexity of these phenomena, and confronting this complexity and filling these crucial philosophical lacunae provides the chief motivation for our project, and explains its broad and ambitious scope.
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