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The Ethical Treatment of DepressionAutonomy through Psychotherapy$
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Paul Biegler

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015493

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015493.001.0001

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Autonomy: The Importance of Justified Beliefs about Affect

Autonomy: The Importance of Justified Beliefs about Affect

(p.38) (p.39) 3 Autonomy: The Importance of Justified Beliefs about Affect
The Ethical Treatment of Depression

Paul Biegler

The MIT Press

This chapter presents the argument that an understanding of the emotional response is central to a full account of personal autonomy because emotional responses help us identify events that are pertinent to our interests and, therefore, material to us. Theoretical and empirical data is also presented, showing emotion to be a strong motivator of behavior and an essential element in decision making. On the flipside, the negative side is shown by highlighting how unjustified beliefs can be subject to emotional reinforcement, resulting in a negative impact on autonomy. The chapter concludes by asserting that justified beliefs about the evidential value of affect are crucial for the autonomy of the agent’s ensuing decisions and actions. This chapter also shows how emotion is useful in strengthening convictions and assisting in the realistic appraisal of the environment.

Keywords:   emotional response, personal autonomy, motivator of behavior, unjustified beliefs, emotional reinforcement

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