Between naturalism and normativity: bioethical dilemmas under the scanner

Cuadernos de Neuropsicologia 8:20-43 (2014)
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This article seeks to investigate to what extent the resulting empirical data from various experiments in Moral Psychology (some behavioral, others based on evidence from neuroimaging and in patients with brain lesions associated with moral competence areas) , can contribute to a better understanding of the psychological processes (cognitive and emotional) underlying to our moral practical judgments, helping us to understand the mechanisms that influence our assessment of moral dilemmas in general and bioethics in particular. Various experiments are discussed (and the theoretical models that are supported) that reveal aspects such as the role of disgust or repugnance in the production of moral judgments, the competitive or cooperative role of emotions and cognitions in impersonal and personal moral dilemmas -and between the above mentioned, easy and difficult-, the neurophysiological bases of deontologist and consequentialist, the value attributed to the intent and the results of action, etc. The relevance of these experiments are analyzed to understand the evaluative and deliberative processes concerning various bioethical dilemmas, for which appeals to examples of conflict situations involved and our emotional resources (that activate immediate assessment ) and our higher cortical areas interact (cognitive processes responsible for slower deliberative and reflexive).

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