Moral unreason: The case of psychopathy

Mind and Language 20 (2):237-57 (2005)
Abstract
Psychopaths are renowned for their immoral behavior. They are ideal candidates for testing the empirical plausibility of moral theories. Many think the source of their immorality is their emotional deficits. Psychopaths experience no guilt or remorse, feel no empathy, and appear to be perfectly rational. If this is true, sentimentalism is supported over rationalism. Here, I examine the nature of psychopathic practical reason and argue that it is impaired. The relevance to morality is discussed. I conclude that rationalists can explain the moral deficits of psychopaths as well as sentimentalists. In the process, I identify psychological structures that underpin practical rationality.
Keywords Children  Ethics  Practical Reason  Psychopathy  Reason
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