Steps to a Naturalistic Account of Human Deontology

ProtoSociology 35:21-37 (2018)
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Abstract

In this paper we outline a theory of human deontology from a naturalistic perspective. In doing so we aim to explain how human beings deal with deontic relations (like obligations and rights) thanks to a specialised psychological infrastructure, which evolved to support human cooperation. This infrastructure includes a repertoire of emotions that play a crucial role in evaluating the conformity of actions relative to a deontic relation, in displaying an agent’s attitude toward their own actions or those of their deontic partners, and in motivating suitable behavioural responses. Finally we discuss the special case of interpersonal deontology, analysing its properties and relating it to Gilbert’s concept of joint commitment.

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Marco Colombetti
Politecnico di Milano

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