The Epistemic Role of Outlaw Emotions

  • Laura Silva (University of Geneva)


Outlaw emotions are emotions that stand in tension with one’s wider belief system, often allowing epistemic insight one may have otherwise lacked. Outlaw emotions are thought to play crucial epistemic roles under conditions of oppression. Although the crucial epistemic value of these emotions is widely acknowledged, specific accounts of their epistemic role(s) remain largely programmatic. There are two dominant accounts of the epistemic role of emotions: The Motivational View and the Justificatory View. Philosophers of emotion assume that these dominant ways of accounting for the epistemic role(s) of emotions in general are equipped to account for the epistemic role(s) of outlaw emotions. I argue that this is not the case. I consider and dismiss two responses that could be made on behalf of the most promising account, the Justificatory View, in light of my argument, before sketching an alternative account that should be favoured.

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Keywords: outlaw emotions, epistemology, emotion, epistemic perceptualism

How to Cite:

Silva, L., (2021) “The Epistemic Role of Outlaw Emotions”, Ergo 8: 23. doi:

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Published on
13 Dec 2021
Peer Reviewed