Behavior and Philosophy 37:195 - 216 (2009)

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Abstract
Arguably, one of the most exciting recent advances in moral philosophy is the ongoing scientific naturalization of normative ethics and metaethics, in particular moral psychology. A relatively neglected area in these improvements that is centrally important for developing a scientifically based naturalistic metaethics concerns the nature and acquisition of successful moral agency. In this paper I lay out two examples of how empirically based findings help us to understand and explain some cases of successful moral agency. These are research in moral internalization and aggression management. Using these examples, I sketch some lessons for investigating successful moral learning and moral action. My proposal reflects a common theme in scientifically based philosophy generally: the shift from the armchair methods of analyzing concepts and finding a priori foundations, the enterprise of first philosophy, to an effort to study the phenomena themselves, using empirical findings and theories to answer philosophical questions about these phenomena, an endeavor recently characterized as second philosophy
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