The Journal of Ethics 17 (3):257-274 (2013)

Regina Rini
York University
The debate between proponents and opponents of a role for empirical psychology in ethical theory seems to be deadlocked. This paper aims to clarify the terms of that debate, and to defend a principled middle position. I argue against extreme views, which see empirical psychology either as irrelevant to, or as wholly displacing, reflective moral inquiry. Instead, I argue that moral theorists of all stripes are committed to a certain conception of moral thought—as aimed at abstracting away from individual inclinations and toward interpersonal norms—and that this conception tells against both extremes. Since we cannot always know introspectively whether our particular moral judgments achieve this interpersonal standard, we must seek the sort of self-knowledge offered by empirical psychology. Yet reflective assessment of this new information remains a matter of substantive normative theorizing, rather than an immediate consequence of empirical findings themselves
Keywords Cognitive science of ethics  Moral methodology  Moral psychology  Normative abstraction  Intuitions
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DOI 10.1007/s10892-013-9145-y
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - Oxford University Press.
Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

In Search of Greene's Argument.Norbert Paulo - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (1):38-58.
Contingency Inattention: Against Causal Debunking in Ethics.Regina Rini - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):369-389.
Why Moral Psychology is Disturbing.Regina Rini - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (6):1439-1458.

View all 14 citations / Add more citations

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