A Tribute to Ronald de Sousa


Ronnie de Sousa, Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, is a philosopher renowned for his outstanding contributions to the philosophy of emotion and biology.

After a childhood spent in Geneva, Switzerland, he studied in England (BA, Oxford) and the United States (PhD, Princeton). He then joined the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto where he has taught throughout his career. He is also a tireless traveler who has lectured and taught around the world.

All those who have had the privilege of meeting him have been struck by his unusual kindness, his unrestrained curiosity and his communicative passion for all things intellectual and, no doubt, sensual too.

Most of the debates that animate the philosophy of emotions to this day originate in his book The Rationality of Emotion (MIT Press, 1987). His research, characterized by its richness and interdisciplinarity, has subsequently continued in many fields, in particular the philosophy of biology (Why Think? Evolution and the Rational Mind, OUP, 2007) and of love (Love: a Very Short Introduction, OUP, 2015). Ronnie presently works on Why is it Ok to be Amoral? in which he builds on his long-standing wariness vis-à-vis sermonizers, preachers and other self-appointed custodians of virtue.

This Festschrift in his honor brings together contributions from philosophers who have been influenced by his writings (or by their conversations with him) and who wish to pay tribute to him. It is accompanied by a conference (Geneva, 23-25 May 2022).

Thanks for everything, Ronnie!


Authors Title Download
Ainslie, Donald C. [Short bio] Le Bon Ronnie? Humean Themes in de Sousa [abstract] [paper]
Arnaud, Sarah [Short bio] The modality of emotions sens dessus de Sousa [abstract] [paper]
Ben-Ze’ev, Aaron [Short bio] Does Romantic Love Make Sense? Some Puzzles Underlying Romantic Love [abstract] [paper]
Bonard, Constant [Short bio] The Rationality of Mood [abstract] [paper]
Brady, Michael [Short bio] The old and new in knowledge and desire [abstract] [paper]
Brown, Deborah [Short bio] Does the term ‘animal husbandry’ make you nervous? [abstract] [paper]
Cunningham, Frank [Short bio] Nationalism and Multiculturalism: A Strange Brew [abstract] [paper]
Egan, David [Short bio] Neoteny, Play, and the Anthropological Difference [abstract] [paper]
Lemaire, Stéphane [Short bio] The Intentionality of emotions and the possibility of unconscious emotions [abstract] [paper]
Lepine, Samuel [Short bio] On salience, confabulation, and emotion’s reliability [abstract] [paper]
Levinson, Jerrold [Short bio] Ronald de Sousa, ses propriétés singulières [abstract] [paper]
Livet, Pierre [Short bio] Rereading ‘The rationality of emotions’ in terms of processes [abstract] [paper]
Majeed, Raamy [Short bio] Modularity and the Politics of Emotion Categorisation [abstract] [paper]
Massin, Olivier [Short bio] Defining Optimisms [abstract] [paper]
Matthen, Mohan [Short bio] Sense Qualities [abstract] [paper]
McGeer, Victoria [Short bio] Moral Travel and the Narrative Work of Forgiveness [abstract] [paper]
Milona, Michael [Short bio] What “Values” Are Emotions About? [abstract] [paper]
Misak, Cheryl [Short bio] The Pragmatism of Ramsey and Ryle [abstract] [paper]
Mitchell, Jonathan [Short bio] Affective Persistence and the Normative Phenomenology of Emotion [abstract] [paper]
Moors, Agnes [Short bio] Emotions and practical rationality: A comparison of reactive and instrumental theories [abstract] [paper]
Müller, Jean Moritz [Short bio] Minimal Rationality: Structural or Reasons-Responsive? [abstract] [paper]
Naar, Hichem [Short bio] Do Emotions Represent? [abstract] [paper]
Nussbaum, Martha C. [Short bio] Sentience and Striving in a Theory of Justice for Animals [abstract] [paper]
Oatley, Keith [Short bio] Emotion-based paradigm scenarios in everyday life and in literature [abstract] [paper]
Pismenny, Arina [Short bio] Ronnie de Sousa, French Philosopher? [abstract] [paper]
Scarantino, Andrea [Short bio] Aesthetic Emotions, Feelings and Modes of Action Readiness [abstract] [paper]
Seager, William [Short bio] Frame Problems, Emotions and Axiological Projectivism [abstract] [paper]
Silva, Laura [Short bio] The Ineffable as Radical [abstract] [paper]
Sreenivasan, Gopal [Short bio] Plasticity and perfection: emotions and the moral domain [abstract] [paper]
Sumner, Wayne [Short bio] The Amoralist [abstract] [paper]
Zwicky, Jan [Short bio] Frost and Snow [abstract] [paper]

How to cite papers from the Tribute: Donald Ainslie (2022) ‘Le Bon Ronnie? Humean Themes in de Sousa’, in J. Deonna, C. Tappolet and F. Teroni (eds.), A Tribute to Ronald de Sousa. URL https://www.unige.ch/cisa/related-sites/ronald-de-sousa/

Tabula Gratulatoria

  • Carla Bagnoli
  • Paul Benacerraf
  • Frédéric Bouchard
  • Joseph J. Campos
  • Noel Carroll
  • Christine Clavien
  • Tom Cochrane
  • Gregory Currie
  • Justin d’Arms
  • Phoebe Ellsworth
  • Luc Faucher
  • Patricia Greenspan
  • Paul Griffiths
  • Anthony Hatzimoysis
  • Joseph Heath
  • Daniel Jacobson
  • David Jopling
  • Dacher Keltner
  • Anne Meylan
  • Kevin Mulligan
  • Carolyn Price
  • Bernard Rimé
  • Catherine Rioux
  • Jenefer Robinson
  • Michael Ruse
  • James A. Russell
  • Mikko Salmela
  • David Sander
  • Klaus Scherer
  • David Wiggins

Conference in Honor of Ronnie de Sousa

Geneva, 23-24 May 2022, and Graduate Day, 25 May 2022

UniBastions room B214 (Main building, second floor)
Monday, 23 May 2022
08.55 Opening words
09.00-10.15 Ronnie de Sousa (Toronto), Invention of Value
Coffee break
10.30-11.25 Gopal Sreenivasan (Duke), Plasticity and Perfection: Emotions and the Moral Domain
11.30-12.30 Michael Milona (Toronto Metropolitan University), What “Values” are Emotions About?
Lunch break
14.00-14.55 Laura Silva (Geneva), The Ineffable as Radical
15.00-15.55 Samuel Lepine (Clermont-Ferrand), On Salience, Confabulation, and Emotion’s Reliability
16.15-17.10 Olivier Massin (Neuchâtel), What is Optimism?
17.15-18.15 Mohan Matthen (Toronto), Sense Qualities
20.00 Dinner Le Lyrique
Tuesday, 24 May 2022
09.15-10.10 Donald Ainslie (Toronto), Humean Themes in de Sousa
Coffee break
10.30-11.25 Deborah Brown (Queensland), Does the Term “Animal Husbandry” Make you Nervous?
11.30-12.25 Stéphane Lemaire (Rennes), The Intentionality of Emotions and Unconscious Emotions
Lunch break
14.00-14.55 Pierre Livet (Aix-en-Provence), Rereading “The Rationality of Emotion” in Terms of Processes
15.00-15.55 Moritz Müller (Bonn), Minimal Rationality: Structural or Reasons-Responsive?
16.15-17.10 Aaron Ben-Ze’ev (Haifa), Does Romantic Love Make sense?
17.15-18.10 Constant Bonard (Rutgers), The Rationality of Mood
Wednesday, 25 May 2022 (Graduate Day)
9.15-10.15 Marie van Loon (Zurich), How Can You Believe This? Disappointment as a Blaming Reactive Attitude
Coffee break
10.30-12.00 Ronnie de Sousa (Toronto), Normally, you should be a bacterium: Why evolution is not Providence
Lunch break at Carosello
14.00-15.00 Radu Bumbacea (Leeds), Emotions without Fittingness
Coffee break
15.15-16.15 Cécile Rosat (Neuchâtel), An Actional Theory of Adam Smith’s Sympathy
Coffee break
16.30-17.30 Maude Ouellette-Dubé (Fribourg), Emotion Phenomenology and Normative Character

De Sousa's Bibliography

You can download the full bibliography here.

https://icon-library.com/icon/icon-for-books-23.html.html>Icon For Books # 410038

About the editors

Julien Deonna

University of Geneva
Julien Deonna is Professor of philosophy at the University of Geneva and project leader at CISA, The Swiss Center for Affective Sciences. He works in the philosophy of mind and moral psychology. He has published articles and monographs on the general theory of emotions (The Emotions: A Philosophical Introduction, Routledge), on shame (In Defense of Shame: The Faces of an Emotion, Oxford) and on the emotion of being moved.

Christine Tappolet

University of Montreal
Christine Tappolet is Full Professor in the Philosophy Department at the Université de Montréal. Her research interests lie mainly in meta-ethics, moral psychology, and emotion theory. She has edited a number of volumes, including, with Sarah Stroud, Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality (OUP, 2003) and with Fabrice Teroni and Anita Konzelman Ziv, Shadows of the Soul. Perspective on Negative Emotions (Routledge, 2018). In addition to close to a hundred articles and chapters, she published three books, including Emotions, Values, and Agency (OUP, 2016).

Fabrice Teroni

University of Geneva
Fabrice Teroni is Professor of philosophy at the University of Geneva and project leader at CISA, The Swiss Center for Affective Sciences. He works in the philosophy of mind and epistemology. He has published articles and monographs on the general theory of emotions (The Emotions: A Philosophical Introduction, Routledge), on shame (In Defense of Shame: The Faces of an Emotion, Oxford) and on memory.