Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Eddy Nahmias

Second Advisor

Andrea Scarantino


Some philosophers have advanced emotion-based arguments for motivational internalism by arguing that emotions play constitutive roles in moral judgments and that emotions motivate actions. Jennifer Corns and Robert Cowan object to this approach, arguing that linking emotion and moral motivation does not help advance the debate about motivational internalism, because mental states that are paradigmatically pleasant or unpleasant, including emotions, do not necessarily motivate agents. I argue that their objections are misplaced as emotion-based accounts do not and do not have to rely on the pleasantness or unpleasantness of emotions to make the case that emotions necessarily motivate. I further propose a revised argument for internalism in which I argue that emotions should be understood as action tendencies with functional goals. The revised argument addresses their objections and improves the existing emotion-based arguments, allowing us to explain how emotions motivate agents to perform specific actions prescribed by moral judgments.


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