Emotional interpretants and ethical inquiry


  • Henrik Rydenfelt Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 38, 00014 Helsinki




emotion, interpretant, emotional interpretant, final interpretant, inquiry, observation, pragmatism, science


The connection between emotions and ethical views or ethical inquiry has been considered intimate by a number of philosophers. Based on Peirce’s discussion on the emotional interpretants in MS 318, I will suggest that such interpretants could be exploited in ethical inquiry. I will first argue, drawing on T. L. Short’s interpretation of Peirce, that there are final emotional interpretants, and such emotional interpretants actually formed (or dynamical) can be more or less appropriate concerning the sign’s (dynamical) objects. I will then explore the prospect that emotional interpretants could be harnessed for the particular cognitive purpose of ethical inquiry, concluding that normative judgments based on feelings could serve as its observational part.

Includes: Comment. A note on moral sentimentalism in the light of the emotional interpretant by Jean-Marie Chevalier (pp. 513–517).


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How to Cite

Rydenfelt, H. (2015). Emotional interpretants and ethical inquiry. Sign Systems Studies, 43(4), 501–517. https://doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2015.43.4.08