Psychopathy: the Incapacity to have Moral Emotions

Journal of Moral Education 17 (2):98-104 (1988)
Abstract ?Lovelessness? and ?guiltlessness? are often seen as the distinctive features of the psychopath. These characteristics can be interpreted as a failure to have two sub?classes of moral emotions, the (moral) rule?emotions and the altruistic emotions. For a better understanding of this moral defect, a more detailed analysis of these types of moral emotions is given. The analysis indicates that the disorder is caused by the absence of the second component of both types of emotions. The psychopath misses a positive commitment to both moral rules and to the well?being of fellow man. The psychopath is characterized as a moral imbecile, and it is assumed that his moral development is stagnated in an early developmental stage. As a young child, the psychopath has not acquired the disposition to feel sympathy. This insight makes us aware of the utmost importance of early childhood (moral) education.
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DOI 10.1080/0305724880170203
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References found in this work BETA
Ronald Dmitri Milo (1984). Immorality. Princeton University Press.
Antony Duff (1977). Psychopathy and Moral Understanding. American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (3):189 - 200.

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