No. 11 (2016): Emotions, Normativity, and Social Life
Session 2. Emotions, Morality, and Political Theory

Moral Emotion, Autonomy and the ‘Extended Mind’

Published January 4, 2017
Keywords
  • guilt,
  • shame,
  • self-regulation,
  • autonomy,
  • heteronomy
How to Cite
Harcourt, E. (2017). Moral Emotion, Autonomy and the ‘Extended Mind’. Phenomenology and Mind, (11), 100-112. https://doi.org/10.13128/Phe_Mi-20110

Abstract

This paper interweaves a ‘micro’ theme concerning shame and guilt and a ‘macro’ theme concerning self-regulation generally. Neither shame nor guilt is more other-independent than the other. Moreover, because other-dependence in either emotion is not a mark of heteronomy, neither emotion is more characteristic of a well-functioning moral consciousness. Then, relying on phenomena described by ‘extended mind’ theorists, I argue that a common view of self-regulation in children – that it is importantly other-dependent – is also true of adult self-regulation. But that is all the more reason to think that other-dependence and a well-functioning moral consciousness can go together. Moreover, since shame and guilt are one aspect of self-regulation, if other-dependence can be a characteristic generally of our well-functioning self-regulation – the ‘macro’ thesis – this supports the ‘micro’ thesis that other-dependence can characterize the well-functioning of both shame and guilt. The conclusion is that heteronomy lies not in the fact of other-dependence but in the nature of the dependence.