Moral Psychology: An Introduction

Polity (2016)
Authors
Mark Alfano
Delft University of Technology
Abstract
This book provides a rich, systematic, and accessible introduction to moral psychology, aimed at undergraduate philosophy and psychology majors. There are eight chapters, in addition to a short introduction, prospective conclusion, and extensive bibliography. The recipe for each chapter will be: a) to introduce a philosophical topic (e.g., altruism, virtue, preferences, rules) and some prominent positions on it, without assuming prior acquaintance on the part of the reader b) to canvass and explain the relevance of a particular domain of empirical inquiry (e.g., evolutionary psychology, behavioral economics, neuroscience) to the topic c) to argue for some tentative conclusions about the topic d) to suggest further avenues for conceptual and empirical research The guiding theme of the book is that moral philosophy without psychological content is empty, whereas psychological investigation without philosophical insight is blind. Thus, I advocate a holistic approach that pictures moral psychology as a project of collaborative inquiry into the descriptive and normative aspects of the human condition. Ideally, students will come away from (a course built around) the book with the sense that, though philosophy may not be the queen of the sciences, its role is not merely to interpret scientific results.
Keywords moral psychology
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