Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind

Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind

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The burgeoning science of ethics has produced a trend toward pessimism. Ordinary moral thought and action, we're told, are profoundly influenced by arbitrary factors and ultimately driven by unreasoned feelings. This book counters the current orthodoxy on its own terms by carefully engaging with the empirical literature. The resulting view, optimistic rationalism, shows the pervasive role played by reason our moral minds, and ultimately defuses sweeping debunking
arguments in ethics. The science does suggest that moral knowledge and virtue don't come easily. However, despite the heavy influence of automatic and unconscious processes that have been shaped by evolutionary pressures, we needn't reject ordinary moral psychology as fundamentally flawed or in need of
serious repair. Reason can be corrupted in ethics just as in other domains, but a special pessimism about morality in particular is unwarranted. Moral judgment and motivation are fundamentally rational enterprises not beholden to the passions.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 282 pages
  • 163 x 243 x 23mm | 594g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198811578
  • 9780198811572
  • 1,984,871

Table of contents

1: Empirical Pessimism
Part A: Moral Judgement and Knowledge
2: The Limits of Emotion
3: Reasoning Beyond Consequences
4: Defending Moral Judgment
5: The Difficulty of Moral Knowledge
Part B: Moral Motivation and Virtue
6: Beyond Self-Interest
7: The Motivational Power of Moral Beliefs
8: Freeing Reason from Desire
9: Defending Virtuous Motivation
10: Cautious Optimism
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Review Text innovative and important contribution to moral psychology, which ought to be read by everyone in the field. John Doris, Washington University in St. Louis, Behavioral and Brain Sciences
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Review quote innovative and important contribution to moral psychology, which ought to be read by everyone in the field. * John Doris, Washington University in St. Louis, Behavioral and Brain Sciences * Regard for Reason is a novel and important defense of the view that reason guides moral thought and motivation in human beings. * Neil Sinhababu, National University of Singapore, Behavioral and Brain Sciences * ...a tremendous and much-needed intervention in the field of moral psychology. * Robin Zheng, Yale-NUS College , Behavioral and Brain Sciences * May undertakes a careful, measured, and systematic re-examination of the evidence that some scientifically motivated sentimentalists and others take to show that ordinary moral thought is driven by, and depends upon, affect. * Jeanette Kennett, Macquarie University, Australasian Journal of Philosophy * ...a systematic, impressively thorough, and convincing defence of the viability of moral rationalism. It excels in a detailed discussion of the experimental record, coupled with exceptionally clear discussions of the commitments of moral rationalism... the best defence of moral rationalism against empirical pessimism available. * Michael Klenk, Delft University of Technology , Metapsychology * Recommended. * CHOICE *
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About Joshua May

Joshua May is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He obtained his PhD in Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before arriving in Birmingham, he taught for two years at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. His research is primarily at the intersection of science and ethics, with recent publications appearing in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Cognition, Journal of Medical Ethics,
Philosophical Studies, and Synthese.
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