In Thomas Schramme (ed.), Being Amoral. MIT Press. pp. 71-89 (2014)

The chapter offers a philosophical account of the capacity to recognise moral considerations to be used in investigating whether psychopaths are amoral, as opposed to immoral. The author criticizes Simon Baron-Cohen and James Blair et al., who maintain that psychopaths are amoral insofar they lack empathy, for endorsing a sentimentalist account of moral understanding. Moreover, the author criticizes Kant's version of rationalism for assuming an impersonal notion of moral rationality that is unconstrained by specific human features. He offers, instead, an account of moral rationality in the spirit of Philippa Foot's Aristotelian inspired proposal. According to this view, moral rationality is a type of rationality that depends on the capacities for empathy, developing feelings of benevolence and resistance to causing harm. Although some psychopaths are irrational in other ways, the author suggest that central to psychopathy is a failure of moral rationality.
Keywords psychopathy  sentimentalism  empathy  rationalism  Kant  moral rationatliy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2015
Buy the book Find it on
DOI 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027915.003.0003
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: 70,192
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Famine, Affluence, and Amorality.David Sackris - 2021 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 17 (2):(A1)5-29.
The Contribution of Empathy to Ethics.Sarah Songhorian - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (2):244-264.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Moral Unreason: The Case of Psychopathy.Heidi Lene Maibom - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (2):237-57.
Moral Understanding in the Psychopath.Luca Malatesti - 2009 - Synthesis Philosophica 24 (2):337-348.
Moral Understanding in the Psychopath.Luca Malatesti - 2009 - Synthesis Philosophica 24 (2):337-348.
The Mad, the Bad, and the Psychopath.Heidi L. Maibom - 2008 - Neuroethics 1 (3):167-184.
Conscience as the Rational Deficit of Psychopaths.Marijana Vujošević - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1219-1240.
Are Psychopaths Morally Sensitive?Bruce Maxwell & Leonie Le Sage - 2009 - Journal of Moral Education 38 (1):75-91.
Internalism, Emotionism, and the Psychopathy Challenge.Lei Zhong - 2013 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 20 (4):329-337.
Psychopathy and Responsibility Theory.Paul Litton - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (8):676-688.
Defending PCL-R.Luca Malatesti & John McMillan - 2010 - In Luca Malatesti & John McMillan (eds.), Responsibility and Psychopathy: Interfacing Law, Psychiatry and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
45 ( #251,557 of 2,507,403 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #170,014 of 2,507,403 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes