In Gustavo Oliva de Oliveira, Daniel Santos & Eduardo Alves (eds.), XX Semana Acadêmica do PPG em Filosofia da PUCRS Vol. 4. Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil: pp. 137-148 (2020)

Gustavo Oliva de Oliveira
Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos
The suggestion that emotions are, in a way, essential to moral judgement has been getting attention in recent literature. Jesse Prinz says that emotionist theories involve at least one of the following claims: (i) emotions are necessary and sufficient for the acquisition of moral concepts (epistemic emotionism); (ii) emotions are necessary and sufficient to determine moral properties (metaphysical emotionism). According to Prinz, some empirical results in moral psychology can support these kinds of emotionism (especially the first one). In The emotional construction of morals, Prinz presents the famous dumbfounding cases, in which interviewees maintain a moral judgement even when confronted with the fact that they cannot articulate reasons why, as evidence for an emotionist view of moral judgement. There is, however, controversy regarding the interpretation of such cases: to begin with, it seems possible to interpret them through reasons, as suggested by Sinott-Armstrong, Yin and Stanley (2019); also, even if there are no reasons being considered, it is possible, as suggested by Jones (2006) and Alves (2013), that dumbfounded moral judgement isn’t a genuine example of moral judgement, since the subjects do not possess basic moral concepts. I start with moral dumbfounding cases and Prinz’s emotionist interpretation of them and later consider the alternative interpretations. Even though Prinz’s reading is initially appealing, it seems the empirical evidence does not support a sentimentalist metaethics as much as he suggests, and the appeal to reasons is still essential in understanding moral judgement.
Keywords Metaethics  Moral Psychology  Sentimentalism  Emotionism  Moral Dumbfounding
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Emotional Basis of Moral Judgments.Jesse Prinz - 2006 - Philosophical Explorations 9 (1):29-43.
Metaethics and Emotions Research: A Response to Prinz.Karen Jones - 2006 - Philosophical Explorations 9 (1):45-53.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Metaethics and Emotions Research: A Response to Prinz.Karen Jones - 2006 - Philosophical Explorations 9 (1):45-53.
Are Emotions Necessary and Sufficient for Making Moral Judgments?Marco Aurélio Sousa Alves - 2013 - [email protected] - An International Journal for Moral Philosophy 12 (1):113-126.
Moral Judgments and Emotions: A Less Intimate Relationship Than Recently Claimed.Thomas Pölzler - 2015 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 35 (3):177-195.
Principle-Based Moral Judgement.Maike Albertzart - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):339-354.


Added to PP index

Total views
122 ( #95,700 of 2,505,216 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
21 ( #42,000 of 2,505,216 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes