Grants Advisor, Project Manager and Science Writer
Research and innovation are not only important, but defining aspects in the life of Otto Bruun. Since pursuing a career in higher education, his unique approach has been a shining example for other professionals. With a true dedication to sharing knowledge, he has educated, inspired, and connected countless people and ideas inside and outside of the classroom.
In debates from neuroscience to psychology, a broad tendency consists in attributing a higher moral status and a greater moral relevance to guilt, a claim motivated by arguments that tap into various areas of morality and moral psychology. The Pro-social Argument has it that guilt is, contrary to shame, morally good since it promotes pro-social behaviour. Other arguments claim that only guilt has the requisite connection to central moral concepts. In this paper, we scrutinize these arguments and argue that they cannot support the conclusion that they try to establish. We conclude that a narrow focus on particular criteria and a misconception of shame and guilt have obscured the important roles shame plays in our moral lives.
Le livre d'Aristote intitulé Catégories a été pendant plusieurs siècles le texte de base pour la logique occidentale. Plotin, Porphyre, les commentateurs grecs d'Aristote, Boèce, les Pères de l'Eglise, les logiciens byzantins, arabes, latins - tous ont commenté la théorie des catégories et nous ont légué une riche documentation. Aucune étude récente ne traite de la tradition dans toute sa continuité. C'est dans le but de contribuer à combler cette lacune que nous avons publié le présent volume.
OVERVIEW OF PROJECTS
EMOTION, FEELING, AND VALUE (SNSF - NATIONAL CENTER FOR COMPETENCE IN RESEARCH: AFFECTIVE SCIENCES)
2009-2013 Co-applicant, external consultant
The general goal of this project is to elucidate the concept of valence. Here is a brief outline of the issues dealt with in those modules. First, valence (emotions are either positive or negative) and intentionality (they are directed at objects) are two fundamental and related traits of emotions. What distinct relations, then, hold between the intentionality of emotions and their valence? Second, valence is often understood by appealing to the motivational aspect of emotional phenomena. Can then positive and negative valence just be reducible to respectively motivation to pursue and motivation to avoid? Third, valence is often understood in hedonic terms. How is hedonic valence to be construed? Fourth, the idea of valence must, in some way, be connected with the fact that emotions are accompanied by bodily feelings.
Whereas both valence and bodily feelings are often construed, at least in part, as phenomenological in nature, they are nevertheless clearly distinct, since the latter need not be understood in terms of pleasures and pains. So what is the relation between felt body and valence? Fifth, the concepts of valence and value are clearly related, suggesting that valence may be basically an axiological concept. Studying the metaphysics of values, may therefore be of great help in understanding valence, and consequently, the emotions. Sixth, the peculiarly complex self-evaluative emotions, which appear to have double intentionality (at the world and at oneself), will constitute for us a particularly interesting case study of emotional valence.
EMOTIONS, VALUES AND NORMS (SNSF - NATIONAL CENTER FOR COMPETENCE IN RESEARCH: AFFECTIVE SCIENCES)
2005-2009 Project manager and researcher
Projects leaders: Otto Bruun, Julien Deonna, Kevin Mulligan, Raffaele Rodogno, Fabrice Teroni
What are the relations between emotions and related phenomena, on the one hand, and values, on the other hand? We investigate numerous versions of the claim that emotions have values as their formal objects and the relations between such claims and the thesis in psychology that emotions constitutively involve appraisals. The investigation proceeds in two directions. First, we consider the general theory of formal objects and its role in a theory of intentionality and knowledge and attempt to locate the place of values, emotions and preferences within such a theory. Secondly, we consider a series of more specific questions. In particular, what does it mean to say that we care about moral values and that we should care about them? What is the role of the distinction between appropriate and inappropriate emotions in the development of folk morality? How should we distinguish between inappropriate emotions, quasi-emotions and sham emotions?
SHAME AND GUILT (SNSF - NATIONAL CENTER FOR COMPETENCE IN RESEARCH: AFFECTIVE SCIENCES)
2005-2009 Project manager and researcher
Project leaders: Otto Bruun, Julien Deonna, Kevin Mulligan, Raffaele Rodogno, Fabrice Teroni
The Shame and Guilt case study was part of the Philosophy Project (Project 10). It aimed at providing a unified theory of these emotions and took into account discussions, theories and evidence from other disciplines such as psychology and law. It produced many publications as well as a monograph on shame and guilt. Here is list of these publications.
LES CATÉGORIES ET LEUR HISTOIRE (EPFL - PÔLE INTÉGRATION, RÉGULATION ET INNOVATIONS SOCIALES)
2001-2003 Assistant de recherche IRIS-NSS et administrateur
Les Catégories sont une des œuvres majeures d'Aristote qui a été placée en tête de son Organon (l'ensemble de ses traités de logique). Aristote développe dans ce traité les bases de sa logique en étudiant la façon dont l'être peut se dire dans le langage. Le terme de « catégorie » provient du verbe grec categorein, qui signifie « accuser ». Les catégories seront ainsi les modes d'accusation de l'être, c'est-à-dire les différentes façons de signifier et de désigner ce qui est en général. L'élaboration des premiers éléments du discours sur l'être dans ce traité pose les bases de la théorie des propositions prédicatives (ou jugements), théorie qui sera exposée dans le traité qui suit les Catégories, à savoir le traité De l'interprétation, et qui sera formalisée par les logiciens modernes à la fin du 19e et au début du 20e siècle, sous le nom de calcul des prédicats. Les Catégories serviront comme « texte de base à la logique occidentales ».