Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind

Oxford University Press (2018)

Authors
Joshua May
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Abstract
The burgeoning science of ethics has produced a trend toward pessimism. Ordinary moral thought and action, we’re told, are profoundly influenced by arbitrary factors and ultimately driven by unreasoned feelings. This book counters the current orthodoxy on its own terms by carefully engaging with the empirical literature. The resulting view, optimistic rationalism, shows the pervasive role played by reason, and ultimately defuses sweeping debunking arguments in ethics. The science does suggest that moral knowledge and virtue don’t come easily. However, despite the heavy influence of automatic and unconscious processes that have been shaped by evolutionary pressures, we needn’t reject ordinary moral psychology as fundamentally flawed or in need of serious repair. Reason can be corrupted in ethics just as in other domains, but a special pessimism about morality in particular is unwarranted. Moral judgment and motivation are fundamentally rational enterprises not beholden to the passions.
Keywords moral psychology  moral epistemology  debunking arguments  situationism  disgust  egoism
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ISBN(s) 9780198811572
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References found in this work BETA

The Emotional Construction of Morals.Jesse Prinz - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Ethics and Intuitions.Peter Singer - 2005 - Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):331-352.

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Citations of this work BETA

Moral Reasoning and Emotion.Joshua May & Victor Kumar - forthcoming - In Karen Jones, Mark Timmons & Aaron Zimmerman (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Moral Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 139-156.
How to Debunk Moral Beliefs.Victor Kumar & Joshua May - 2019 - In Jussi Suikkanen & Antti Kauppinen (eds.), Methodology and Moral Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 25-48.
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.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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