Experiments in Ethicsby Kwame Anthony Appiah
Pub. Date: 01/15/2008
Publisher: Harvard University Press
In the past few decades, scientists of human natureincluding experimental and cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, evolutionary theorists, and behavioral economistshave explored the way we arrive at moral judgments. They have called into question commonplaces about character and offered troubling explanations for various moral intuitions. Research… See more details below
In the past few decades, scientists of human natureincluding experimental and cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, evolutionary theorists, and behavioral economistshave explored the way we arrive at moral judgments. They have called into question commonplaces about character and offered troubling explanations for various moral intuitions. Research like this may help explain what, in fact, we do and feel. But can it tell us what we ought to do or feel? In Experiments in Ethics, the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah explores how the new empirical moral psychology relates to the age-old project of philosophical ethics.
Some moral theorists hold that the realm of morality must be autonomous of the sciences; others maintain that science undermines the authority of moral reasons. Appiah elaborates a vision of naturalism that resists both temptations. He traces an intellectual genealogy of the burgeoning discipline of "experimental philosophy," provides a balanced, lucid account of the work being done in this controversial and increasingly influential field, and offers a fresh way of thinking about ethics in the classical tradition.
Appiah urges that the relation between empirical research and morality, now so often antagonistic, should be seen in terms of dialogue, not contest. And he shows how experimental philosophy, far from being something new, is actually as old as philosophy itself. Beyond illuminating debates about the connection between psychology and ethics, intuition and theory, his book helps us to rethink the very nature of the philosophical enterprise.
- Harvard University Press
- Publication date:
- Mary Flexner Lecture Series of Bryn Mawr College Series
- Product dimensions:
- 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: The Waterless Moat
2. The Case against Character
3. The Case against Intuition
4. The Varieties of Moral Experience
5. The Ends of Ethics
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