Autism, empathy and moral agency

Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):340-357 (2002)

Authors
Jeanette Kennett
Macquarie University
Abstract
Psychopaths have long been of interest to moral philosophers, since a careful examination of their peculiar deficiencies may reveal what features are normally critical to the development of moral agency. What underlies the psychopath's amoralism? A common and plausible answer to this question is that the psychopath lacks empathy. Lack of empathy is also claimed to be a critical impairment in autism, yet it is not at all clear that autistic individuals share the psychopath's amoralism. How is empathy characterized in the literature, and how crucial is empathy, so described, to moral understanding and agency? I argue that an examination of moral thinking in high-functioning autistic people supports a Kantian rather than a Humean account of moral agency.
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9213.00272
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References found in this work BETA

The Possibility of Practical Reason.David Velleman - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Sympathy, Simulation, and the Impartial Spectator.Robert M. Gordon - 1996 - In L. May, Michael Friedman & A. Clark (eds.), Ethics. MIT Press. pp. 727-742.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Emotional Basis of Moral Judgments.Jesse Prinz - 2006 - Philosophical Explorations 9 (1):29-43.
The Empathic Brain: How, When and Why?Frederique de Vignemont & Tania Singer - 2006 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (10):435-441.
The Limits of Emotion in Moral Judgment.Joshua May - 2018 - In Karen Jones & Francois Schroeter (eds.), The Many Moral Rationalisms. Oxford University Press. pp. 286-306.
On Being Attached.Monique Wonderly - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):223-242.

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