Nothing more than feelings? The role of emotions in moral judgment

Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 30 (4):355–375 (2000)
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In this paper, I review the primary arguments for the traditional position that holds emotions as antagonistic to moral judgments. I argue that this position is untenable given the information about emotions and emotional processes that has emerged in the psychological literature of recent years. I then offer a theoret- ical model of emotive moral judgment that takes a closer look at how emotions, specifically empathy, play an integral role in the process of moral judgment. I argue that emotions should not be dismissed as irrelevant or harmful to moral evaluations, but that affect can actually aid moral deliberations. The emphasis here will be on moral judgments (i.e., judgments concerning the rightness or wrongness of situations, actions, or individuals); I will not deal directly with the otherwise important issue of the role of emotions in moral behavior. The em- phasis will also be on empathy, as it seems to be the most prototypical moral emotion and is certainly the most widely discussed.



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Citations of this work

Moral heuristics.Cass R. Sunstein - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):531-542.
Moral Reasoning and Emotion.Joshua May & Victor Kumar - 2018 - In Karen Jones, Mark Timmons & Aaron Zimmerman (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Moral Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 139-156.

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