Reason, emotion, and the problem of world poverty: moral sentiment theory and international ethics
This article defends a sentimentalist cosmopolitan approach to international ethics against the rationalist cosmopolitan claim that emotions ought to be subjugated by their master, reason, and in processes of ethical deliberation. It argues that emotions play an indispensable role in making moral judgements and help to motivate ethical actions. Drawing on elements of 18th century moral sentiment theory and recent advances in neuroscience and psychology, the article demonstrates that reason and emotion are intimately linked forms of reflective thought, that emotion is central to reason and, far from disrupting processes of ethical deliberation, may actually enhance our ability to make moral judgements. Focusing on the problem of global poverty, the article shows that a sentimentalist cosmopolitan ethic provides a holistic approach to moral dilemmas in world politics that is capable of identifying injustices, prescribing how we ought to respond to them, and motivating ethical action in response to the injustices we observe.