The Emotion of Pride and the Ethics of Recognition: A Philosophical Analysis

Period: 01.10.2017 - 30.09.2021


As a fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) I received a four-year grant for the completion of the following project:


We can feel pride about something we achieved or about an ability we have, about a good result on an exam, the way we handled a tricky situation, or a silly way in which we can move our ears. We can also take pride in other people's achievements, like those of our children or of our friends. We can be proud of the country we belong to, a soccer team we cheer for, a religion we believe in, or not believing in any religion at all. Sometimes, these feelings of pride give us reasons to act in a certain way. We might want to dress up in the colours of our favourite soccer team on the night that they are playing against a dreaded competitor, or we might want to tell our friends about the great results our kids are getting in school. Our pride can drive us to do good actions. It may encourage us to donate to charity or to pursue ambitions that we cherish. But pride can have morally bad consequences as well. Those become apparent in contemporary issues like religious extremism or nationalist feelings that lead to discrimination.


In order to understand the emotion of pride and how it affects our actions both in a positive and negative way, it is interesting and not without importance to come to a philosophical exploration of pride. This project investigates what it means to be proud of something, and how that feeling relates to the notion of dignity and identity. Moreover, it investigates what role the recognition by others, in relation to pride, plays in our moral lives.


Advisor: prof. dr. Guido Vanheeswijck     Co-advisor: prof. dr. Katrien Schaubroeck





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(c) Martha Claeys 2020