Mind 119 (475):585-614 (2010)

Authors
Jeanette Kennett
Macquarie University
Philip Gerrans
University of Adelaide
Abstract
Metaethics has recently been confronted by evidence from cognitive neuroscience that tacit emotional processes play an essential causal role in moral judgement. Most neuroscientists, and some metaethicists, take this evidence to vindicate a version of metaethical sentimentalism. In this paper we argue that the ‘dual process’ model of cognition that frames the discussion within and without philosophy does not do justice to an important constraint on any theory of deliberation and judgement. Namely, decision-making is the exercise of a capacity for agency. Agency, in turn, requires a capacity to conceive of oneself as temporally extended: to inhabit, in both memory and imagination, an autobiographical past and future. To plan, to commit to plans, and to act in accordance with previous plans requires a diachronic self, able to transcend the present moment. While this fact about agency is central to much of moral philosophy (e.g. in discussions of autonomy and moral responsibility) it is opaque to the dual process framework and those meta-ethical accounts which situate themselves within this model of cognition. We show how this is the case and argue for an empirically adequate account of moral judgement which gives sufficient role to memory and imagination as cognitive prerequisites of agency. We reconsider the empirical evidence, provide an alternative, agentive, interpretation of key findings, and evaluate the consequences for metaethics.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/mind/fzq037
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 54,608
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

How Does Moral Judgment Work?Joshua Greene & Jonathan Haidt - 2002 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6 (12):517-523.
Self-Projection and the Brain.Randy L. Buckner & Daniel C. Carroll - 2007 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):49-57.
An Integrative Theory of Prefrontal Cortex Function.Earl K. Miller & Jonathan D. Cohen - 2001 - Annual Review of Neuroscience 24 (1):167-202.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Roots of Remembering: Radically Enactive Recollecting.Daniel D. Hutto & Anco Peeters - 2018 - In Kourken Michaelian, Dorothea Debus & Denis Perrin (eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. New York: Routledge. pp. 97-118.
Psychopaths and Blame: The Argument From Content.Neil Levy - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (3):351–367.
Psychopaths and Blame: The Argument From Content.Neil Levy - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (3):351-367.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Metaethics and Emotions Research: A Response to Prinz.Karen Jones - 2006 - Philosophical Explorations 9 (1):45-53.
Moral Agency in Other Animals.Paul Shapiro - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (4):357-373.
Principle-Based Moral Judgement.Maike Albertzart - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):339-354.
Storytelling and Moral Agency.Lynne Tirrell - 1990 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 48 (2):115-126.
Autism, Empathy and Moral Agency.Jeanette Kennett - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):340-357.
The Two Sources of Moral Standing.Justin Sytsma & Edouard Machery - 2012 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):303-324.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-09-01

Total views
546 ( #10,447 of 2,386,001 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #556,216 of 2,386,001 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes