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Profile: Neil Levy (Oxford University, Macquarie University)
  1.  18
    Neil Levy (2007). Neuroethics: Challenges for the 21st Century. Cambridge University Press.
    Neuroscience has dramatically increased understanding of how mental states and processes are realized by the brain, thus opening doors for treating the multitude of ways in which minds become dysfunctional. This book explores questions such as when is it permissible to alter a person's memories, influence personality traits or read minds? What can neuroscience tell us about free will, self-control, self-deception and the foundations of morality? The view of neuroethics offered here argues that many of our new powers to read (...)
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  2.  94
    Neil Levy (2011). Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
    The concept of luck has played an important role in debates concerning free will and moral responsibility, yet participants in these debates have relied upon an intuitive notion of what luck is. Neil Levy develops an account of luck, which is then applied to the free will debate. He argues that the standard luck objection succeeds against common accounts of libertarian free will, but that it is possible to amend libertarian accounts so that they are no more vulnerable to luck (...)
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  3.  71
    Joshua Shepherd & Neil Levy (forthcoming). Consciousness and Morality. In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford University Press
    It is well known that the nature of consciousness is elusive, and that attempts to understand it generate problems in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, psychology, and neuroscience. Less appreciated are the important – even if still elusive – connections between consciousness and issues in ethics. In this chapter we consider three such connections. First, we consider the relevance of consciousness for questions surrounding an entity’s moral status. Second, we consider the relevance of consciousness for questions surrounding moral responsibility for action. (...)
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  4. Neil Levy (2007). The Responsibility of the Psychopath Revisited. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (2):pp. 129-138.
    The question of the psychopath's responsibility for his or her wrongdoing has received considerable attention. Much of this attention has been directed toward whether psychopaths are a counterexample to motivational internalism (MI): Do they possess normal moral beliefs, which fail to motivate them? In this paper, I argue that this is a question that remains conceptually and empirically intractable, and that we ought to settle the psychopath's responsibility in some other way. I argue that recent empirical work on the moral (...)
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  5.  73
    Neil Levy (2015). Neither Fish nor Fowl: Implicit Attitudes as Patchy Endorsements. Noûs 49 (4):800-823.
    Implicit attitudes are mental states that appear sometimes to cause agents to act in ways that conflict with their considered beliefs. Implicit attitudes are usually held to be mere associations between representations. Recently, however, some philosophers have suggested that they are, or are very like, ordinary beliefs: they are apt to feature in properly inferential processing. This claim is important, in part because there is good reason to think that the vocabulary in which we make moral assessments of ourselves and (...)
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  6. Neil Levy (2014). Consciousness, Implicit Attitudes and Moral Responsibility. Noûs 48 (1):21-40.
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  7.  25
    Neil Levy (2014). Consciousness and Moral Responsibility. OUP Oxford.
    Neil Levy presents a new theory of freedom and responsibility. He defends a particular account of consciousness--the global workspace view--and argues that consciousness plays an especially important role in action. There are good reasons to think that the naïve assumption, that consciousness is needed for moral responsibility, is in fact true.
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  8. Tim Bayne & Neil Levy (2005). Amputees by Choice: Body Integrity Identity Disorder and the Ethics of Amputation. Journal of Applied Philosophy 22 (1):75–86.
    In 1997, a Scottish surgeon by the name of Robert Smith was approached by a man with an unusual request: he wanted his apparently healthy lower left leg amputated. Although details about the case are sketchy, the would-be amputee appears to have desired the amputation on the grounds that his left foot wasn’t part of him – it felt alien. After consultation with psychiatrists, Smith performed the amputation. Two and a half years later, the patient reported that his life had (...)
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  9.  12
    Neil Levy (forthcoming). Culpable Ignorance: A Reply to Robichaud. Journal of Philosophical Research.
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  10. Neil Levy & Michael McKenna (2009). Recent Work on Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Philosophy Compass 4 (1):96-133.
    In this article we survey six recent developments in the philosophical literature on free will and moral responsibility: (1) Harry Frankfurt's argument that moral responsibility does not require the freedom to do otherwise; (2) the heightened focus upon the source of free actions; (3) the debate over whether moral responsibility is an essentially historical concept; (4) recent compatibilist attempts to resurrect the thesis that moral responsibility requires the freedom to do otherwise; (5) the role of the control condition in free (...)
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  11.  53
    Neil Levy (2015). Less Blame, Less Crime? The Practical Implications of Moral Responsibility Skepticism. Journal of Practical Ethics 3 (2):1-17.
    Most philosophers believe that wrongdoers sometimes deserve to be punished by long prison sentences. They also believe that such punishments are justified by their consequences: they deter crime and incapacitate potential offenders. In this article, I argue that both these claims are false. No one deserves to be punished, I argue, because our actions are shot through with direct or indirect luck. I also argue that there are good reasons to think that punishing fewer people and much less harshly will (...)
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  12. Neil Levy (2011). Resisting 'Weakness of the Will'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):134 - 155.
    I develop an account of weakness of the will that is driven by experimental evidence from cognitive and social psychology. I will argue that this account demonstrates that there is no such thing as weakness of the will: no psychological kind corresponds to it. Instead, weakness of the will ought to be understood as depletion of System II resources. Neither the explanatory purposes of psychology nor our practical purposes as agents are well-served by retaining the concept. I therefore suggest that (...)
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  13.  62
    Neil Levy (2013). Psychopaths and Blame: The Argument From Content. Philosophical Psychology (3):1-17.
    The recent debate over the moral responsibility of psychopaths has centered on whether, or in what sense, they understand moral requirements. In this paper, I argue that even if they do understand what morality requires, the content of their actions is not of the right kind to justify full-blown blame. I advance two independent justifications of this claim. First, I argue that if the psychopath comes to know what morality requires via a route that does not involve a proper appreciation (...)
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  14.  96
    Neil Levy (2011). Enhancing Authenticity. Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (3):308-318.
    Some philosophers have criticized the use of psychopharmaceuticals on the grounds that even if these drugs enhance the person using them, they threaten their authenticity. Others have replied by pointing out that the conception of authenticity upon which this argument rests is contestable; on a rival conception, psychopharmaceuticals might be used to enhance our authenticity. Since, however, it is difficult to decide between these competing conceptions of authenticity, the debate seems to end in a stalemate. I suggest that we need (...)
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  15. Neil Levy (2013). The Importance of Awareness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):221-229.
    A number of philosophers have recently argued that agents need not be conscious of the reasons for which they act or the moral significance of their actions in order to be morally responsible for them. In this paper, I identify a kind of awareness that, I claim, agents must have in order to be responsible for their actions. I argue that conscious information processing differs from unconscious in a manner that makes the following two claims true: (1) an agent’s values (...)
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  16. Neil Levy & Yasuko Kitano (2011). We're All Folk: An Interview with Neil Levy About Experimental Philosophy and Conceptual Analysis. Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 19:87-98.
    The following is a transcript of the interview I (Yasuko Kitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
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  17.  8
    Neil Levy, Defending the Consciousness Thesis : A Response to Robichaud, SriPada, and Caruso.
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  18.  82
    Neil Levy (2009). What, and Where, Luck Is: A Response to Jennifer Lackey. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):489 – 497.
    In 'What Luck Is Not', Lackey presents counterexamples to the two most prominent accounts of luck: the absence of control account and the modal account. I offer an account of luck that conjoins absence of control to a modal condition. I then show that Lackey's counterexamples mislocate the luck: the agents in her cases are lucky, but the luck precedes the event upon which Lackey focuses, and that event is itself only fortunate, not lucky. Finally I offer an account of (...)
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  19.  24
    Neil Levy (2016). Addiction, Autonomy, and Informed Consent: On and Off the Garden Path. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (1):56-73.
    Several ethicists have argued that research trials and treatment programs that involve the provision of drugs to addicts are prima facie unethical, because addicts can’t refuse the offer of drugs and therefore can’t give informed consent to participation. In response, several people have pointed out that addiction does not cause a compulsion to use drugs. However, since we know that addiction impairs autonomy, this response is inadequate. In this paper, I advance a stronger defense of the capacity of addicts to (...)
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  20. Neil Levy (2006). Autonomy and Addiction. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):427-447.
  21. Neil Levy (2007). Rethinking Neuroethics in the Light of the Extended Mind Thesis. American Journal of Bioethics 7 (9):3-11.
    The extended mind thesis is the claim that mental states extend beyond the skulls of the agents whose states they are. This seemingly obscure and bizarre claim has far-reaching implications for neuroethics, I argue. In the first half of this article, I sketch the extended mind thesis and defend it against criticisms. In the second half, I turn to its neuroethical implications. I argue that the extended mind thesis entails the falsity of the claim that interventions into the brain are (...)
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  22. Neil Levy (2008). Counterfactual Intervention and Agents' Capacities. Journal of Philosophy 105 (5):223-239.
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  23.  98
    Neil Levy (2011). Expressing Who We Are: Moral Responsibility and Awareness of Our Reasons for Action. Analytic Philosophy 52 (4):243-261.
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  24.  74
    Neil Levy (2014). Forced to Be Free?: Increasing Patient Autonomy by Constraining It. Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (5):293-300.
    It is universally accepted in bioethics that doctors and other medical professionals have an obligation to procure the informed consent of their patients. Informed consent is required because patients have the moral right to autonomy in furthering the pursuit of their most important goals. In the present work, it is argued that evidence from psychology shows that human beings are subject to a number of biases and limitations as reasoners, which can be expected to lower the quality of their decisions (...)
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  25.  17
    Hannah Maslen, Thomas Douglas, Roi Cohen Kadosh, Neil Levy & Julian Savulescu, The Regulation of Cognitive Enhancement Devices : Extending the Medical Model.
    This article presents a model for regulating cognitive enhancement devices. Recently, it has become very easy for individuals to purchase devices which directly modulate brain function. For example, transcranial direct current stimulators are increasingly being produced and marketed online as devices for cognitive enhancement. Despite posing risks in a similar way to medical devices, devices that do not make any therapeutic claims do not have to meet anything more than basic product safety standards. We present the case for extending existing (...)
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  26.  97
    Neil Levy (2006). Cognitive Scientific Challenges to Morality. Philosophical Psychology 19 (5):567 – 587.
    Recent findings in neuroscience, evolutionary biology and psychology seem to threaten the existence or the objectivity of morality. Moral theory and practice is founded, ultimately, upon moral intuition, but these empirical findings seem to show that our intuitions are responses to nonmoral features of the world, not to moral properties. They therefore might be taken to show that our moral intuitions are systematically unreliable. I examine three cognitive scientific challenges to morality, and suggest possible lines of reply to them. I (...)
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  27. Neil Levy (2005). The Good, the Bad, and the Blameworthy. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 1 (2).
    Accounts of moral responsibility can be divided into those that claim that attributability of an act, omission, or attitude to an agent is sufficient for responsibility for it, and those which hold that responsibility depends crucially on choice. I argue that accounts of the first, attributionist, kind fail to make room for the relatively stringent epistemic conditions upon moral responsibility, and that therefore an account of the second, volitionist, kind ought to be preferred. I examine the various arguments advanced on (...)
     
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  28.  12
    Neil Levy (2016). ‘My Name is Joe and I'm an Alcoholic’: Addiction, Self‐Knowledge and the Dangers of Rationalism. Mind and Language 31 (3):265-276.
    Rationalist accounts of self-knowledge are motivated in important part by the claim that only by looking to our reasons to discover our beliefs and desires are we active in relation to them and only thereby do we take responsibility for them. These kinds of account seem to predict that self-knowledge generated using third-personal methods or analogues of these methods will tend to undermine the capacity to exercise self-control. In this light, the insistence by treatment programs that addicts acknowledge that they (...)
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  29.  46
    Neil Levy (2015). Talking to Our Selves: Reflection, Ignorance, and Agency, by Doris, John M. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):605-608.
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  30.  27
    Neil Levy (2016). Have I Turned the Stove Off? Explaining Everyday Anxiety. Philosophers' Imprint 16 (2).
    Cases in which we find ourselves irrationally worried about whether we have done something we habitually do are familiar to most people, but they have received surprisingly little attention in the philosophical literature. In this paper, I argue that available accounts designed to explain superficially similar mismatches between agents’ behavior and their beliefs fail to explain these cases. In the kinds of cases which have served as paradigms for extant accounts, contents are poised to drive behavior in a belief-like way. (...)
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  31. Timothy J. Bayne & Neil Levy (2006). The Feeling of Doing: Deconstructing the Phenomenology of Agnecy. In Natalie Sebanz & Wolfgang Prinz (eds.), Disorders of Volition. MIT Press
    Disorders of volition are often accompanied by, and may even be caused by, disruptions in the phenomenology of agency. Yet the phenomenology of agency is at present little explored. In this paper we attempt to describe the experience of normal agency, in order to uncover its representational content.
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  32. Neil Levy & Julian Savulescu (2009). Moral Significance of Phenomenal Consciousness. Progress in Brain Research.
    Recent work in neuroimaging suggests that some patients diagnosed as being in the persistent vegetative state are actually conscious. In this paper, we critically examine this new evidence. We argue that though it remains open to alternative interpretations, it strongly suggests the presence of consciousness in some patients. However, we argue that its ethical significance is less than many people seem to think. There are several different kinds of consciousness, and though all kinds of consciousness have some ethical significance, different (...)
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  33.  32
    Neil Levy (2015). Justin Garson, The Biological Mind: A Philosophical Introduction. Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 35 (5):259-260.
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  34.  13
    Neil Levy (2016). The Sweetness of Surrender: Glucose Enhances Self-Control by Signaling Environmental Richness. Philosophical Psychology 29 (6):813-825.
    According to the ego-depletion account of loss of self-control, self-control is, or depends on, a depletable resource. Advocates of this account have argued that what is depleted is actually glucose. However, there is experimental evidence that indicates that glucose replenishment is not necessary for regaining self-control, as well as theoretical reasons for thinking that it is not depleted by exercises of self-control. I suggest that glucose restores self-control not because it is a resource on which it relies, but because it (...)
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  35. Neil Levy (2002). Virtual Child Pornography: The Eroticization of Inequality. Ethics and Information Technology 4 (4):319-323.
    The United States Supreme Court hasrecently ruled that virtual child pornographyis protected free speech, partly on the groundsthat virtual pornography does not harm actualchildren. I review the evidence for thecontention that virtual pornography might harmchildren, and find that it is, at best,inconclusive. Saying that virtual childpornography does not harm actual children isnot to say that it is completely harmless,however. Child pornography, actual or virtual,necessarily eroticizes inequality; in a sexistsociety it therefore contributes to thesubordination of women.
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  36. Neil Levy (2005). Downshifting and Meaning in Life. Ratio 18 (2):176–189.
    So-called downshifters seek more meaningful lives by decreasing the amount of time they devote to work, leaving more time for the valuable goods of friendship, family and personal development. But though these are indeed meaning-conferring activities, they do not have the right structure to count as superlatively meaningful. Only in work – of a certain kind – can superlative meaning be found. It is by active engagements in projects, which are activities of the right structure, dedicated to the achievement of (...)
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  37. Neil Levy (2009). Neuroethics: Ethics and the Sciences of the Mind. Philosophy Compass 4 (1):69-81.
    Neuroethics is a rapidly growing subfield, straddling applied ethics, moral psychology and philosophy of mind. It has clear affinities to bioethics, inasmuch as both are responses to new developments in science and technology, but its scope is far broader and more ambitious because neuroethics is as much concerned with how the sciences of the mind illuminate traditional philosophical questions as it is with questions concerning the permissibility of using technologies stemming from these sciences. In this article, I sketch the two (...)
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  38.  33
    Neil Levy (2012). Capacities and Counterfactuals: A Reply to Haji and McKenna. Dialectica 66 (4):607-620.
    In a recent paper, Ishtiyaque Haji and Michael McKenna argue that my attack on Frankfurt-style cases fails. I had argued that we cannot be confident that agents in these cases retain their responsibility-underwriting capacities, because what capacities an agent has can depend on features of the world external to her, including merely counterfactual interveners. Haji and McKenna argue that only when an intervention is actual does the agent gain or lose a capacity. Here I demonstrate that this claim is false: (...)
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  39. Neil Levy (2003). Analytic and Continental Philosophy: Explaining the Differences. Metaphilosophy 34 (3):284-304.
    A number of writers have tackled the task of characterizing the differences between analytic and Continental philosophy.I suggest that these attempts have indeed captured the most important divergences between the two styles but have left the explanation of the differences mysterious.I argue that analytic philosophy is usefully seen as philosophy conducted within a paradigm, in Kuhn’s sense of the word, whereas Continental philosophy assumes much less in the way of shared presuppositions, problems, methods and approaches.This important opposition accounts for all (...)
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  40. Neil Levy (2007). Doxastic Responsibility. Synthese 155 (1):127 - 155.
    Doxastic responsibility matters, morally and epistemologically. Morally, because many of our intuitive ascriptions of blame seem to track back to agents’ apparent responsibility for beliefs; epistemologically because some philosophers identify epistemic justification with deontological permissibility. But there is a powerful argument which seems to show that we are rarely or never responsible for our beliefs, because we cannot control them. I examine various possible responses to this argument, which aim to show either that doxastic responsibility does not require that we (...)
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  41. Neil Levy (2013). Conversation and Responsibility, by Michael McKenna. [REVIEW] Mind 122 (486):fzt065.
  42.  94
    Neil Levy (2011). Moore on Twin Earth. Erkenntnis 75 (1):137-146.
    In a series of articles, Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons have argued that Richard Boyd’s defence of moral realism, utilizing a causal theory of reference, fails. Horgan and Timmons construct a twin Earth-style thought experiment which, they claim, generates intuitions inconsistent with the realist account. In their thought experiment, the use of (allegedly) moral terms at a world is causally regulated by some property distinct from that regulating their use here on Earth; nevertheless, Horgan and Timmons claim, it is intuitive (...)
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  43. Neil Levy (2009). Culpable Ignorance and Moral Responsibility: A Reply to FitzPatrick. Ethics 119 (4):729-741.
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  44.  26
    Neil Levy (forthcoming). Embodied Savoir-Faire: Knowledge-How Requires Motor Representations. Synthese:1-20.
    I argue that the intellectualist account of knowledge-how, according to which agents have the knowledge-how to \ in virtue of standing in an appropriate relation to a proposition, is only half right. On the composition view defended here, knowledge-how at least typically requires both propositional knowledge and motor representations. Motor representations are not mere dispositions to behavior because they have representational content, and they play a central role in realizing the intelligence in knowledge-how. But since motor representations are not propositional, (...)
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  45. Neil Levy (2007). Norms, Conventions, and Psychopaths. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (2):pp. 163-170.
  46.  86
    Neil Levy (2005). Imaginative Resistance and the Moral/Conventional Distinction. Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):231 – 241.
    Children, even very young children, distinguish moral from conventional transgressions, inasmuch as they hold that the former, but not the latter, would still be wrong if there was no rule prohibiting them. Many people have taken this finding as evidence that morality is objective, and therefore universal. I argue that reflection on the phenomenon of imaginative resistance will lead us to question these claims. If a concept applies in virtue of the obtaining of a set of more basic facts, then (...)
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  47.  37
    Neil Levy (2008). Going Beyond the Evidence. American Journal of Bioethics 8 (9):19 – 21.
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  48. Neil Levy (2003). What (If Anything) is Wrong with Bestiality? Journal of Social Philosophy 34 (3):444–456.
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  49. Neil Levy (2006). Addiction, Autonomy and Ego-Depletion: A Response to Bennett Foddy and Julian Savulescu. Bioethics 20 (1):16–20.
  50.  90
    Neil Levy (2009). Empirically Informed Moral Theory: A Sketch of the Landscape. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (1):3 - 8.
    This introduction to the special issue on empirically informed moral theory sketches the more important contributions to the field in the past several years. Attention is paid to experimental philosophy, the work of philosophers like Harman and Doris, and that of psychologists like Haidt and Hauser.
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