What Experimental Evidence Shows Us about the Role of Emotions in Moral Judgement

Philosophy Compass 5 (11):999-1012 (2010)
Abstract
In empirically minded research, it is widely agreed that emotions play an important, even essential, role in moral judgment. Experimental research on moral development, psychopathology, helping behavior, moral judgment, and moral justification has been used to support different new forms of sentimentalism. This article reviews this evidence critically and proposes that although it suggests that emotions play a role in moral judgment, it does so in a more limited way than is often assumed to be the case. Some evidence shows merely that emotions play a role in decision-making, other that emotions are implicated in certain types of moral judgment. What is required, it seems, is a new conceptualization of what is at stake in the rationalism versus sentimentalism debate.
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John Martin Rich (1980). Moral Education and the Emotions. Journal of Moral Education 9 (2):81-87.
Sabine Roeser (2009). Reid and Moral Emotions. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 7 (2):177-192.
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