A Modest Intuitionist Reply to Greene's fMRI-Based Objections to Deontology

Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):107-117 (2009)
Abstract
I argue that Greene’s research, although fascinating for many reasons, doesn’t undermine deontological moral philosophy. This is because both sentimentalist and rationalist moral epistemologies, applied to deontological value, predict exactly the data Greene has found. My discussion proceeds in three steps. In the first section I summarize Greene’s brief against deontology. In the second section I draw on standard accounts of moral emotions to suggest that there are ‘deontological emotions’ made rational by appearances of ‘deontological value.’ Finally, I outline a modest but realist intuitionist account of moral intuitions that connects deontological emotion to putative deontological value in a way that predicts Greene’s findings.
Keywords Joshua Greene  fMRI  neuroethics  moral epistemology  moral intuitions
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