Psychology and the Aims of Normative Ethics

In Jens Clausen & Neil Levy (eds.), Springer Handbook of Neuroethics (2015)
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This chapter discusses the philosophical relevance of empirical research on moral cognition. It distinguishes three central aims of normative ethical theory: understanding the nature of moral agency, identifying morally right actions, and determining the justification of moral beliefs. For each of these aims, the chapter considers and rejects arguments against employing cognitive scientific research in normative inquiry. It concludes by suggesting that, whichever of the central aims one begins from, normative ethics is improved by engaging with the science of moral cognition.
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