David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Psychology 16 (1):51-66 (2003)
Metaethical questions are typically held to be a priori, and therefore impervious to empirical evidence. Here I examine the metaethical claim that motive-internalism about belief (or belief-internalism), the position that moral beliefs are intrinsically motivating, is true. I argue that belief-internalists are faced with a dilemma. Either their formulation of internalism is so weak that it fails to be philosophically interesting, or it is a substantive claim but can be shown to be empirically false. I then provide evidence for the falsity of substantive belief-internalism. I describe a group of brain-damaged patients who sustain impairment in their moral sensibility: although they have normal moral beliefs and make moral judgments, they are not inclined to act in accordance with those beliefs and judgments. Thus, I argue that they are walking counterexamples to the substantive internalist claim. In addition to constraining our conception of moral reasoning, this argument stands as an example of how empirical evidence can be relevantly brought to bear on a philosophical question typically viewed to be a priori.
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References found in this work BETA
R. M. Hare (1952). The Language of Morals. Oxford Clarendon Press.
Michael Stocker (1979). Desiring the Bad: An Essay in Moral Psychology. Journal of Philosophy 76 (12):738-753.
Stephen Darwall, Allan Gibbard & Peter Railton (1992). Toward Fin de Siècle Ethics: Some Trends. Philosophical Review 101 (1):115-189.
Citations of this work BETA
Caj Strandberg & Fredrik Björklund (2013). Is Moral Internalism Supported by Folk Intuitions? Philosophical Psychology 26 (3):319-335.
Nicholas Southwood & Lina Eriksson (2011). Norms and Conventions. Philosophical Explorations 14 (2):195 - 217.
Caj Strandberg (2011). The Pragmatics of Moral Motivation. Journal of Ethics 15 (4):341-369.
Richard Joyce (2011). The Error In 'The Error In The Error Theory'. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):519-534.
Philip Gerrans & Jeanette Kennett (2010). Neurosentimentalism and Moral Agency. Mind 119 (475):585-614.
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