Truth, Authenticity, and Rationality



Emotions are Janus-faced. They tell us something about the world, and they tell us something about ourselves. This suggests that we might speak of a truth, or perhaps two kinds of truths of emotions, one of which is about self and the other about conditions in the world. On some views, the latter comes by means of the former. Insofar as emotions manifest our inner life, however, we are more inclined to speak of authenticity rather than truth. What is the difference? We need to distinguish the criteria of correspondence or appropriateness suitable for authenticity from those that embody the criterion of truth. Furthermore there is also a question about the transitions – among states of mind, and between states of mind and behaviour – that emotions encourage. This realm of transitions concerns rationality. After sketching the relevant distinctions, I will endeavour to justify the view that emotions should be appraised in terms of all three terms.