On this episode of Free Range, Mike Livermore speaks with Laura Candiotto, whose work focuses on the Philosophy of Emotions, and the intersection of epistemology, ethics, philosophy, and cognition. At the time this interview was recorded, Candiotto was a Senior Research Fellow at the Free University of Berlin’s Institute of Philosophy; she is now a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Ethics at the University of Pardubice, Czech Republic.
Candiotto begins by explaining what exactly she means when she refers to emotion in her work, how others in her field understand the term, and why competing theories of emotion lead to controversy amongst those in the field (1:07 – 9:04). Candiotto then describes how epistemology and emotion interact with each other, explaining that often an emotional response can reveal the truth of a situation (9:15 – 16:46). Taking a step back, Candiotto provides definitions for some of the key concepts to her research, including epistemology, virtue, curiosity, and intellectual character (16:52 – 25:50). This leads to a discussion of the function of emotion, the ethics of knowledge, and the creation of moral obligations. Candiotto explains that, in contrast to post-modernism, her research is centered on the belief that truth does exist and has value, while admitting that there are times where truth may be less important than understanding (25:57 – 36:26). Candiotto goes on to state that she believes that emotions can be both universal and biologically and culturally specific, then speaks about her forthcoming paper on epistemic cultures and how a society’s values can influence individuals’ emotional response (36:40 – 44:58). Livermore then provides a brief summary of the AlphaGo computer program, and asks Candiotto to situate her work within the context of machine learning (45:00 – 53:40). The conversation finishes with a rumination on one of artificial intelligence’s central questions: the relationship between motivation and the ethics of knowledge (53:45 – 58:33).
Professor Michael Livermore is the Edward F. Howrey Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. He is also the Director of the Program in Law, Communities and the Environment (PLACE), an interdisciplinary program based at UVA Law that examines the intersection of legal, environmental, and social concerns.