Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):389 – 405 (2008)

Authors
Folke Tersman
Uppsala University
Abstract
A recent study of moral intuitions, performed by Joshua Greene and a group of researchers at Princeton University, has recently received a lot of attention. Greene and his collaborators designed a set of experiments in which subjects were undergoing brain scanning as they were asked to respond to various practical dilemmas. They found that contemplation of some of these cases (cases where the subjects had to imagine that they must use some direct form of violence) elicited greater activity in certain areas of the brain associated with emotions compared with the other cases. It has been argued (e.g., by Peter Singer) that these results undermine the reliability of our moral intuitions, and therefore provide an objection to methods of moral reasoning that presuppose that they carry an evidential weight (such as the idea of reflective equilibrium). I distinguish between two ways in which Greene's findings lend support for a sceptical attitude towards intuitions. I argue that, given the first version of the challenge, the method of reflective equilibrium can easily accommodate the findings. As for the second version of the challenge, I argue that it does not so much pose a threat specifically to the method of reflective equilibrium but to the idea that moral claims can be justified through rational argumentation in general.
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DOI 10.1080/00048400802002010
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Ethics and Intuitions.Peter Singer - 2005 - Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):331-352.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Moral Reasons.Jonathan Dancy - 1993 - Blackwell.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience.Selim Berker - 2009 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 37 (4):293-329.
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No need to get up from the armchair.Dan Baras - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3):575-590.

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