Webcast Q&A: 27 February 2011, Question 3
I answered a question on being sentimental on 27 February 2011. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
Is it moral to be sentimental? Some dictionaries define sentiment as an attitude based on emotion rather than reason. Is this accurate? Would it then be moral or rational to be sentimental? For example, would it be moral or rational to: (1) Hold on to your favorite childhood toys when you are an adult (assuming you have the space for them), even if they don't carry the same meaning for you now but they bring about good memories and feelings? (2) Keep old love letters or pictures of friends that you are not on speaking terms with (but were, at one time, good friends with) because they remind you of "the good times"?
My Answer, In Brief: To be sentimental is to be "of or prompted by feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia." That can be rational or not, depending on the particulars. To live in the past or to romanticize the past is wrong. But reflections on and mementos of past achievements and experiences is part of what makes a person's life an integrated sum, rather than just a series of moments. And that's good!
- Duration: 5:32
- Download: MP3 Segment (1.9 MB)
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].