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.
Kwame Anthony Appiah writes the Ethicist column for The New York Times Magazine. A professor of philosophy and law at New York University, he is the best-selling, award-winning author of The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity; Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers; The Ethics of Identity; and The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen.
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
What People are Saying About This
This dazzlingly written book argues for reconnecting moral philosophy with the sciences, both natural and social--and demonstrates that the reconnection, while in a sense overdue, reconnects philosophy with its ancient interest in empirical issues. Appiah's important argument promises to transform more than one field. It is not only wise and subtle; it is also inspiring.
Cass Sunstein, Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago and author of Worst-Case Scenarios
Experiments in Ethics is wonderful: concise but not breezy, clear but not simplistic, wide-ranging but focused, filled with wit and learning. It is an accessible, lively, and balanced introduction to empirical moral psychology that I recommend happily to philosophers and non-philosophers. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong,Professor of Philosophy and Hardy Professor of Legal Studies at Dartmouth College
This collection of critical essays examines distinctive moments of the Americas Society's visual art program
and its impact on the formation of a Latin American market in the United States. Founded in 1965, the Americas Society has played a pivotal ...
Before the Cultural Revolution, Ai Ssu-ch'i (1910-1966) was one of Communist China's foremost Marxist philosophers,
second only to Chairman Mao himself. Ai was attracted to Marxism-Leninism as a young student in China and Japan,and wrote numerous books and articles seeking ...
The ancient Greeks commonly resorted to magic spells to attract and keep loversas numerous allusions
in Greek literature and recently discovered voodoo dolls, magical papyri, gemstones, and curse tablets attest. Surveying and analyzing these various texts and artifacts, Christopher Faraone ...
“Appiah is a writer and thinker of remarkable range… [He] has packed into this short
book an impressive amount of original reflection… A rich and illuminating book.”Thomas Nagel, New York Review of BooksIdealization is a fundamental feature of human thought. ...
This bookthe first full-length study of the “last and most beautiful” apology against paganism, Theodoret’s
Therapeutic for Hellenic Maladiescombines close readings of the text with detailed analysis of Theodoret’s arguments against Greek religion, philosophy, and culture and ...
Constitutional Choices illuminates the world of scholarship and advocacy uniquely combined by Laurence Tribe, one
of the nation’s leading professors of constitutional law and most successful practitioners before the Supreme Court. In his new hook, Tribe boldly moves beyond the ...
Investigating the late sixteenth through the nineteenth century, this work looks at the shifting boundaries
between the Choson state and the adherents of Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity, and popular religions. Seeking to define the meaning and constitutive elements of the hegemonic ...
Imagine a world where whole epochs will pass, cultures rise and fall, between a telephone
call and the reply. Think of the human race multiplying 500-million fold, or evolving new, distinct species. Consider the technology of space colonization, computer-assisted reproduction, ...