Moral Imagination: Implications of Cognitive Science for Ethics

Overview

Using path-breaking discoveries of cognitive science, Mark Johnson argues that humans are fundamentally imaginative moral animals, challenging the view that morality is simply a system of universal laws dictated by reason. According to the Western moral tradition, we make ethical decisions by applying universal laws to concrete situations. Johnson shows how research in cognitive science undermines this view and reveals that imagination has an essential role in ethical deliberation. Expanding his innovative ...
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Overview

Using path-breaking discoveries of cognitive science, Mark Johnson argues that humans are fundamentally imaginative moral animals, challenging the view that morality is simply a system of universal laws dictated by reason. According to the Western moral tradition, we make ethical decisions by applying universal laws to concrete situations. Johnson shows how research in cognitive science undermines this view and reveals that imagination has an essential role in ethical deliberation. Expanding his innovative studies of human reason in Metaphors We Live By and The Body in the Mind, Johnson provides the tools for more practical, realistic, and constructive moral reflection.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Western moral tradition has it that we make ethical decisions rationally, by applying universal laws to concrete situations. Johnson (philosophy, U. of Southern Illinois) draws on recent work in the cognitive sciences to argue that imagination plays a major role in ethical deliberation. Not universal laws, he says, but shared metaphors, images, and narratives are the basis of western morality. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226401690
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 302
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: How Cognitive Science Changes Ethics 1
1 Reason as Force: The Moral Law Folk Theory 13
2 Metaphoric Morality 32
3 The Metaphoric Basis of Moral Theory 63
4 Beyond Rules 78
5 The Impoverishment of Reason: Our Enlightenment Legacy 108
6 What's Wrong with the Objectivist Self 126
7 The Narrative Context of Self and Action 150
8 Moral Imagination 185
9 Living without Absolutes: Objectivity and the Conditions for Criticism 217
10 Preserving Our Best Enlightenment Moral Ideals 244
Notes 261
Index 283
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