Rhoden Lecture: Attachment, Devotion, and Moral Assessment

Date, time, location

Friday, April 26, 2024
4:30 pm EDT

King Building, 343

10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH 44074

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Additional details

Free and Open to the Public

Monique Wonderly will present the Rhoden Lecture "Attachment, Devotion and Moral Assessment".

Abstract:  Oftentimes, what matters to us and how it matters are taken to be legitimate bases for moral criticism. Suppose, for example, you learn that an acquaintance recently befriended and feels great affection for someone she knows to be a frequent and remorseless animal abuser. Many would deem you justified in thinking morally less of your acquaintance. You might judge that her fondness for the animal abuser reflects poorly on her character and that she ought not to feel as she does about him. On some accounts, however, we are not morally criticizable for how we feel, and so a person’s emotional connectedness to some person or object – no matter how morally odious – is never itself an appropriate ground for moral assessment. As I will argue, though we are sometimes criticizable for our emotional ties to morally bad objects, in some of these cases, it would be unreasonable for others to expect an agent to sever such ties or to hold her morally accountable for failing to do so. To develop and support this view, I consider the nature and costs of emotionally detaching from an object when one is attached to, values, and/or is devoted to the relevant object.

Monique Wonderly is a Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.  She received dual BAs in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Michigan and her PhD from the University of California, Riverside.  Her areas of specialization include Theoretical and Applied Ethics; Moral Psychology; Agency Theory; and Philosophy of Emotion.  Recent published articles include "On Moral Pride as Taking Responsibilty for the Good" and "Forgiving, Committing and Un-forgiving", as well as the chapter "Love and the Anatomy of Needing Another" in the Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology (2022).