The emotional basis of moral judgments

Philosophical Explorations 9 (1):29-43 (2006)
Abstract
Recent work in cognitive science provides overwhelming evidence for a link between emotion and moral judgment. I review ?ndings from psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and research on psychopathology and conclude that emotions are not merely correlated with moral judgments but they are also, in some sense, both necessary and suf?cient. I then use these ?ndings along with some anthropological observations to support several philosophical theories: ?rst, I argue that sentimentalism is true: to judge that something is wrong is to have a sentiment of disapprobation towards it. Second, I argue that moral facts are response-dependent: the bad just is that which cases disapprobation in a community of moralizers. Third, I argue that a form of motivational internalism is true: ordinary moral judgments are intrinsically motivating, and all non-motivating moral judgments are parasitic on these.
Keywords Cognitive Science  Emotion  Ethics  Moral Judgment  Neuroscience  Psychology
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