Date of Award

Fall 12-13-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Andrea Scarantino

Second Advisor

Andrew I. Cohen

Third Advisor

Eric Wilson


In this thesis I argue that a leading sentimentalist theory, Rational Sentimentalism, faces the Problem of Superfluity because the evaluative properties to which certain emotions are responses can be defined independently of examining those emotional responses. In other words, the connection to value that Rational Sentimentalism aims for fails to obtain. I show that at least one such emotion, disgust, is influenced by higher cognition to a degree incompatible with Rational Sentimentalism avoiding the Problem of Superfluity. I conclude by suggesting ways in which other emotions are structurally similar to disgust, and therefore face the same problem in being incorporated into Rational Sentimentalism.