Examining Phronesis Models with Evidence from the Neuroscience of Morality Focusing on Brain Networks

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In this paper, I examined whether evidence from the neuroscience of morality supports the standard models of phronesis, i.e., Jubilee and Aretai Centre Models. The standard models explain phronesis as a multifaceted construct based on interaction and coordination among functional components. I reviewed recent neuroscience studies focusing on brain networks associated with morality and their connectivity to examine the validity of the models. Simultaneously, I discussed whether the evidence helps the models address challenges, particularly those from the phronesis eliminativism. Neuroscientific evidence supported the importance of brain networks, i.e., the default mode, salience, and central executive functioning networks, in moral functioning in general. The findings favorably supported the multifaceted and integrative nature of phronesis proposed by the standard models. Finally, I considered how the two models could explain the mechanisms of phronesis more integratively based on neuroscientific findings. At the end of this paper, with the evidence, I proposed several practical ideas to promote the cultivation of phronesis, e.g., the consideration of coordination among components for moral functioning and the use of moral exemplars.

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Hyemin Han
University of Alabama