Seeing Color, Seeing Emotion, Seeing Moral Value

Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (3):539-555 (2016)
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Defenders of moral perception have famously argued that seeing value is relevantly similar to seeing color. Some critics think, however, that the analogy between color-seeing and value-seeing breaks down in several crucial respects. Defenders of moral perception, these critics say, have not succeeded in providing examples of non-moral perception that are relevantly analogous to cases of moral perception. Therefore, it can be doubted whether there is such a thing as moral perception at all. I argue that, although the analogy between color perception and moral perception does indeed break down in several crucial respects, that conclusion does not weaken the case of defenders of moral perception, because better analogies are available. If defenders of moral perception seek to draw support from an analogy, then seeing emotion will protect them better against criticisms than will seeing color.
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