What if Kant Had Had a Cognitive Theory of the Emotions?

Martha Nussbaum advocates a cognitive theory of the emotions, where the central doctrine of such cognitivism is that emotions have propositional content. According to Nussbaum, human emotions are rational in a descriptive sense, i.e., bound up in reason. (Emotions can be irrational –based on error – but not non-rational.) Nussbaum, accepting a neo-Stoic account, holds that emotions are value judgments about external objects. On this account, emotional conflict is oscillation between beliefs. Some-one in emotional conflict is not divided against herself, with different parts of her fighting for dominance, but is in a dynamic state in which her reasoning processes alter her emotions as each appearance or belief is considered.