Psychopathy: what apology making tells us about moral agency


Authors
Abstract
Psychopathy is often used to settle disputes about the nature of moral judgment. The “trolley problem” is a familiar scenario in which psychopathy is used as a test case. Where a convergence in response to the trolley problem is registered between psychopathic subjects and non-psychopathic subjects, it is assumed that this convergence indicates that the capacity for making moral judgments is unimpaired in psychopathy. This, in turn, is taken to have implications for the dispute between motivation internalists and motivation externalists, for instance. In what follows, we want to do two things: firstly, we set out to question the assumption that convergence is informative of the capacity for moral judgment in psychopathy. Next, we consider a distinct feature of psychopathy which we think provides strong grounds for holding that the capacity for moral judgment is seriously impaired in psychopathic subjects. The feature in question is the psychopathic subject’s inability to make sincere apologies. Our central claim will be this: convergence in response to trolley problems does not tell us very much about the psychopathic subject’s capacity to make moral judgments, but his inability to make sincere apologies does provide us with strong grounds for holding that this capacity is seriously impaired in psychopathy
Keywords Cognitivism  Non-cognitivism  Affective attunement  John McDowell  Peter Singer  Psychopathy  Moral agency
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11017-014-9279-3
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 45,629
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Virtue and Reason.John McDowell - 1979 - The Monist 62 (3):331-350.
Values and Secondary Qualities.John McDowell - 1985 - In Ted Honderich (ed.), Morality and Objectivity. London: Routledge. pp. 110-129.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Psychopathy, Neurotechnologies, and Neuroethics.Fabrice Jotterand - 2014 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (1):1-6.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Emotions and Moral Agency.Lisa Damm - 2010 - Philosophical Explorations 13 (3):275-292.
Moral Responsibility and the Psychopath.Walter Glannon - 2008 - Neuroethics 1 (3):158-166.
Are Psychopaths Morally Sensitive?Bruce Maxwell & Leonie Le Sage - 2009 - Journal of Moral Education 38 (1):75-91.
To Treat a Psychopath.Heidi L. Maibom - 2014 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (1):31-42.
Moral Unreason: The Case of Psychopathy.Heidi Lene Maibom - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (2):237-57.
Psychopathy and Responsibility Theory.Paul Litton - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (8):676-688.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-01-20

Total views
276 ( #23,622 of 2,280,717 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
16 ( #51,692 of 2,280,717 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature