Experts in: Theory of emotions
- Early Modern philosophy
- Philosophy of the Enlightenment
- Philosophy of art
- Philosophy of literature
- Theory of passion
- Theory of emotions
- Theory of fictions
My fields of interest essentially encompass the history of modern philosophical thought (17th and 18thcenturies) and the philosophy of art and aesthetics, from the 18th century to the present. My research subjects can be grouped into four themes.
- The first - and the most important in my past work - concerns the reconstruction of the main issues in 18th-century philosophical aesthetics. My initial university studies focused largely on the role of aesthetics in Kantian philosophy and the German Aufklärung; I then expanded my analysis to include the French, English and Scottish Enlightenment. Among the questions that interest me in this context are the birth of a specific philosophical discourse on art in the 18th century; the nature of aesthetic experience and critical judgment; the relationships between ethics and aesthetics; the relationships between passions and artistic experience; the status of fiction; models for explaining invention and creativity; the explanation of paradoxical emotions; and theories of tragic emotion.
- A second research theme concerns the problem of affectivity in modern philosophy and, in particular, the issue of the role of intersubjectivity in the engenderment and communication of passions. To study this question so obviously neglected by historians of the philosophical theories of passions, I start from the "model" of sympathy developed by David Hume and Adam Smith, to inventory the different philosophical explanations of passional life, from Spinoza to Rousseau, and examine their ethical and aesthetic implications.
- I am also interested in the use of fictions in philosophical discourse. I study the rich and diversified use that classical and Enlightenment philosophers make of experiences of thought, of epistemological fictions and fictional and rhetorical devices in discourses aimed at producing truth.
- Lastly, I have undertaken research that should lead, with the collaboration of my colleagues, to the publication and annotation of a selection of major philosophical texts by certain members of the "speculative philosophy" class of the Berlin Academy, including Johann Georg Sulzer and Jean Bernard Merian. Halfway between Leibnizianism and empiricism, the debates of the Berlin Academy, between 1748 and 1780, are an ideal laboratory for following the transformation of the key issues in the philosophical thought of the Enlightenment on the nature of knowledge, representation, action, feelings, etc.
- Moral theories
- Moral psychology
- Theory of emotions
- Practical irrationality
- Weakness of will
My main research interests are in ethics and more specifically in meta-ethics and moral psychology, a field at the confluence of moral philosophy, philosophy of mind and empirical psychology. Research concerning moral realism and moral epistemology lead me to study the nature of emotions and their relation to value judgements. I thus argued that emotions consist in perceptual experiences of evaluative properties (Tappolet 1995, 2000). Emotions are still one of my main research interests. My publications in this domain, some of which have been produced in collaboration with Luc Faucher (UQAM), bear on the relation between emotions and attention, and on the modularity and plasticity of emotions.
In collaboration with Ruwen Ogien (CNRS, Paris) I have also worked in normative ethics, and have examined the relationship between value judgments and ethical judgments (Ogien & Tappolet 2009). I have also been interested in the relationship between evaluative judgments and actions, and more specifically the nature of phenomena such as weakness of will (Stroud & Tappolet 2003). The question of the relationship between autonomy, rationality and emotion is key to my future research.