Interdisciplinary before the Disciplines: Sentimentalism and the Science of Man

In Remy Debes & Karsten Stueber (eds.), Ethical Sentimentalism: New Perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 15-32 (2017)
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Abstract

This chapter argues that Enlightenment sentimentalism’s greatest potential contribution to scholarship today is not a matter for moral philosophy alone, but rather an agenda for fruitful collaboration between fields across the humanities and social sciences. This interdisciplinary program for both understanding an improving human nature is contrasted with alternative approaches, and defended against objections that it cannot produce a moral code categorically binding on any rational being as such. The chapter concludes with some sociological and psychological hypotheses that might help explain why the interdisciplinary and sentimentalist approach to ethics, for all its intellectual virtues, has not been adequately appreciated.

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Michael L. Frazer
University of East Anglia

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