Considering the Purposes of Moral Education with Evidence in Neuroscience: Emphasis on Habituation of Virtues and Cultivation of Phronesis

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 27 (1):111-128 (2024)
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Abstract

In this paper, findings from research in neuroscience of morality will be reviewed to consider the purposes of moral education. Particularly, I will focus on two main themes in neuroscience, novel neuroimaging and experimental investigations, and Bayesian learning mechanism. First, I will examine how neuroimaging and experimental studies contributed to our understanding of psychological mechanisms associated with moral functioning while addressing methodological concerns. Second, Bayesian learning mechanism will be introduced to acquire insights about how moral learning occurs in human brains. Based on the reviewed neuroscientific research on morality, I will examine how evidence can support the model of moral education proposed by virtue ethics, Neo-Aristotelian moral philosophy in particular. Particularly, two main aims of virtue ethics-based moral education, the habituation of virtues and the cultivation of phronesis, will be discussed as the important purposes of moral education based on neuroscientific evidence.

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