Sentimentalist pluralism: Moral psychology and philosophical ethics

Philosophical Issues 18 (1):143-163 (2008)
Abstract
When making moral judgments, people are typically guided by a plurality of moral rules. These rules owe their existence to human emotions but are not simply equivalent to those emotions. And people’s moral judgments ought to be guided by a plurality of emotion-based rules. The view just stated combines three positions on moral judgment: [1] moral sentimentalism, which holds that sentiments play an essential role in moral judgment,1 [2] descriptive moral pluralism, which holds that commonsense moral judgment is guided by a plurality of moral rules2, and [3] prescriptive moral pluralism, which holds that moral judgment ought to be guided by a plurality of moral rules. In what follows, we will argue for all three positions. We will not present a comprehensive case for these positions nor address many of the arguments philosophers have developed against them. What we will try to show is that recent psychological work supports sentimentalist pluralism in both its descriptive and prescriptive forms
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