Morality without mindreading

Mind and Language 32 (3):338-357 (2017)
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Abstract

Could animals behave morally if they can’t mindread? Does morality require mindreading capacities? Moral psychologists believe mindreading is contingently involved in moral judgements. Moral philosophers argue that moral behaviour necessarily requires the possession of mindreading capacities. In this paper, I argue that, while the former may be right, the latter are mistaken. Using the example of empathy, I show that animals with no mindreading capacities could behave on the basis of emotions that possess an identifiable moral content. Therefore, at least one type of moral motivation does not require mindreading. This means that, a priori, non-mindreading animals can be moral.

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Susana Monsó
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia