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The Neuroscience of Moral Judgment

In Aaron Zimmerman, Karen Jones & Mark Timmons (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Moral Epistemology. New York: Routledge. pp. 84–104 (2018)

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  1. The Neuroscience of Moral Judgment: Empirical and Philosophical Developments.Joshua May, Clifford I. Workman, Julia Haas & Hyemin Han - 2022 - In Felipe de Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (eds.), Neuroscience and philosophy. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. pp. 17-47.
    We chart how neuroscience and philosophy have together advanced our understanding of moral judgment with implications for when it goes well or poorly. The field initially focused on brain areas associated with reason versus emotion in the moral evaluations of sacrificial dilemmas. But new threads of research have studied a wider range of moral evaluations and how they relate to models of brain development and learning. By weaving these threads together, we are developing a better understanding of the neurobiology of (...)
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  • Moral Rationalism on the Brain.Joshua May - 2023 - Mind and Language 38 (1):237-255.
    I draw on neurobiological evidence to defend the rationalist thesis that moral judgments are essentially dependent on reasoning, not emotions (conceived as distinct from inference). The neuroscience reveals that moral cognition arises from domain-general capacities in the brain for inferring, in particular, the consequences of an agent’s action, the agent’s intent, and the rules or norms relevant to the context. Although these capacities entangle inference and affect, blurring the reason/emotion dichotomy doesn’t preferentially support sentimentalism. The argument requires careful consideration of (...)
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  • Bioethics, Experimental Approaches.Jonathan Lewis, Joanna Demaree-Cotton & Brian Earp - 2023 - In M. Sellers & S. Kirste (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 279-286.
    This entry summarizes an emerging subdiscipline of both empirical bioethics and experimental philosophy (“x-phi”) which has variously been referred to as experimental philosophical bioethics, experimental bioethics, or simply “bioxphi”. Like empirical bioethics, bioxphi uses data-driven research methods to capture what various stakeholders think (feel, judge, etc.) about moral issues of relevance to bioethics. However, like its other parent discipline of x-phi, bioxphi tends to favor experiment-based designs drawn from the cognitive sciences – including psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics – to (...)
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