the damage project
adam morton (September 2017)
In the past year and a half I have written a series of papers on morally important emotions, mostly for collections. Each of these has at some point connected with the theme of ways in which people can damage other people's capacities. (It is important to me that this is distinct from giving others bad experiences or violating their rights.) In principle these papers could be put together to make a small book, with redundancies eliminated and connections added. It would be a fairly radical contribution to moral philosophy. But I do not plan to this. One reason is that I have a number of projects to finish, and I am not confident of being able to finish them all. Another reason is that I am straying into the territory of many clever and well-informed people, and anticipating and defending against all of their objections would be a big task. So instead I am uploading final drafts of these papers to a number of sites, where they can sit side-by-side and constitute some sort of unified exposition.
Here is a list of the papers, with descriptions. Each of them is linked to the paper on my own website, but they are also on PhilPapers.org and on academia.edu .
pride versus self-respect They are very different. You can have too much pride but you cannot have too much self-respect. People can damage other people's self-respect in ways that until recently were not appreciated.
damage & imagination Human social life depends on our imaginative grasp of one another. But some of the most important things are very hard to imagine.
cousins of regret Regret is different from remorse is different from shame is different from guilt. We can also describe attitudes to our past less-than-admirable actions that do not fit easily into any of these categories. The pattern includes other emotions we do not have standard names for.
damage, flourishing, and two sides of morality We can make people's lives go better, or worse, in ways that are not reflected in their experience. Obvious as this may be, it is not reflected in a lot of moral philosophy. One reason might be that it raises hard questions about the unity of moral considerations.