Sentimentalism is an account about the meaning of some evaluative terms in natural language. In general, the sentimentalist about some evaluative term E proposes to analyze E in terms of the notion of fittingness of some emotion. So, for example, ‘x is shameful’ gets analyzed as ‘it is fitting to feel shame at x‘. Fittingness in turn gets analyzed in terms of the truth of the representational content of the relevant emotion. That is to say: shame at x is fitting just in case x-directed shame represents x truthfully. (And, in general, an emotion with representational content p is fitting just in case p.)
The sentimentalist analysis of ‘shameful’ avoids making a mistake that other accounts of the meaning of ‘shameful’ have made. Say that we propose to analyze ‘x is shameful’ as ‘x‘s bearer ought to / should be ashamed of x‘. This is clearly wrong. It is possible that John should be ashamed of smoking — say Osama will blow up India unless John’s ashamed of smoking — even though his smoking is isn’t itself shameful.
This is all seems pretty much correct. Still, the following sentences sound pretty odd to me.
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