Philosophical Studies 170 (2):215-233 (2014)

Patrick Clipsham
Winona State University
Many philosophers assume that philosophical theories about the psychological nature of moral judgment can be confirmed or disconfirmed by the kind of evidence gathered by natural and social scientists (especially experimental psychologists and neuroscientists). I argue that this assumption is mistaken. For the most part, empirical evidence can do no work in these philosophical debates, as the metaphorical heavy-lifting is done by the pre-experimental assumptions that make it possible to apply empirical data to these philosophical debates. For the purpose of this paper, I emphasize two putatively empirically-supported theories about the psychological nature of moral judgment. The first is the Sentimental Rules Account, which is defended by Shaun Nichols. The second is defended by Jesse Prinz, and is a form of sentimentalist moral relativism. I show that both of the arguments in favour of these theories rely on assumptions which would be rejected by their philosophical opponents. Further, these assumptions carry substantive moral commitments and thus cannot be confirmed by further empirical investigation. Because of this shared methodological assumption, I argue that a certain form of empirical moral psychology rests on a mistake
Keywords Metaethics  Moral psychology  Naturalism  G.E. Moore  Naturalistic fallacy
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-013-0208-5
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References found in this work BETA

Principia Ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Dover Publications.
The Emotional Construction of Morals.Jesse Prinz - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Thinking How to Live.Allan Gibbard - 2003 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Empirical Identity of Moral Judgment.Victor Kumar - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):783-804.
The Mark of the Moral: Beyond the Sentimentalist Turn.Frank Hindriks & Hanno Sauer - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (4):569-591.
What’s Left for the Companions in Guilt Argument?Patrick Clipsham - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):137-151.
Early Confucianism and Contemporary Moral Psychology.Richard Kim - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (9):473-485.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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