Andrew Van Wagner interviews Ronald de Sousa, a philosopher best known for his work in philosophy of emotion, in his Substack newsletter:
1) What are the most exciting projects that you’re currently working on? And the most exciting projects that you know of that others are working on?
I’m working on a project about how language affects our emotions. For this project, I’m basing my general perspective on the “dual processing” hypothesis—that there are two systems, one intuitive and one analytic—that was popularized in Daniel Kahneman’s very famous and wonderful 2011 book Thinking, Fast and Slow. I’m interested in how this dual system affects our emotions, which then translates into the question of how our emotions are elaborated when we talk about them—someone who values rationality might think that the analytic system should be trusted over the intuitive one, but our brains can only do a very limited amount of conscious reasoning, which means that you essentially have to rely on the intuitive system for the most part.
I’m also writing a book—Why It’s Okay to Be Amoral—that’s based on a 2021 article that I wrote about morality. I argue in the book that philosophers are basically wasting their time in trying to justify the principles that they peddle as fundamental moral principles—my view is that such efforts are useless when people have different moral foundations and each one is at the very rock bottom of understanding and explanation, which makes rational discourse impossible.