Entre razões e emoções, qual é a saída? Como entender os casos de dumbfounding moral

In Gustavo Oliva de Oliveira, Daniel Santos & Eduardo Alves (eds.), XX Semana Acadêmica do PPG em Filosofia da PUCRS Vol. 4. pp. 137-148 (2020)
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The suggestion that emotions are, in a way, essential to moral judgement has been getting attention in recent literature. Jesse Prinz says that emotionist theories involve at least one of the following claims: (i) emotions are necessary and sufficient for the acquisition of moral concepts (epistemic emotionism); (ii) emotions are necessary and sufficient to determine moral properties (metaphysical emotionism). According to Prinz, some empirical results in moral psychology can support these kinds of emotionism (especially the first one). In The emotional construction of morals, Prinz presents the famous dumbfounding cases, in which interviewees maintain a moral judgement even when confronted with the fact that they cannot articulate reasons why, as evidence for an emotionist view of moral judgement. There is, however, controversy regarding the interpretation of such cases: to begin with, it seems possible to interpret them through reasons, as suggested by Sinott-Armstrong, Yin and Stanley (2019); also, even if there are no reasons being considered, it is possible, as suggested by Jones (2006) and Alves (2013), that dumbfounded moral judgement isn’t a genuine example of moral judgement, since the subjects do not possess basic moral concepts. I start with moral dumbfounding cases and Prinz’s emotionist interpretation of them and later consider the alternative interpretations. Even though Prinz’s reading is initially appealing, it seems the empirical evidence does not support a sentimentalist metaethics as much as he suggests, and the appeal to reasons is still essential in understanding moral judgement.

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Gustavo Oliva de Oliveira
Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos


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