Biological Theory 16 (1):30-48 (2021)

William A. Rottschaefer
Boston University (PhD)
In this article I elaborate a scientifically based moral realism that I call affordance moral realism, and I offer a promissory note that affordance moral realism is the best current explanation of morality. Affordance moral realism maintains that morality is constituted by the interaction of moral agents and moral affordances. The latter are the natural and social environments in which moral agents’ activities take place and contain the objects of moral agents’ activities whose actualizations are the manifestation of substantive moral goods. In making this argument, I take a scientific naturalistic approach that includes both the natural and social sciences, aiming to make my account both methodologically and substantively naturalistic. On the subject side of my affordance view, I offer a scientific account of moral agency, one based on an extension of social cognitive theories of agency to the realm of morality. And I argue that affordance moral realism explains the nature of moral agency, its acquisition, maintenance, and successful performance. To explain its origin and maintenance, I make use of a general theory of selection that embraces biological, social, cultural, and intentional selection. On the object side, I offer a theory of moral affordances and their actualizations, employing the findings and theories of moral developmental psychology and moral psychology to understand their actualizations through the successful operations of moral agents. I conclude that a scientifically based naturalistic affordance moral realism promises to provide the best current account of morality. It is not only affordable; it’s a bargain.
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DOI 10.1007/s13752-020-00361-8
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The Emotional Construction of Morals.Jesse Prinz - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

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