Sentimental Rules

Sentimental Rules : On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment

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Sentimental Rules is an ambitious and highly interdisciplinary work, which proposes and defends a new theory about the nature and evolution of moral judgment. In it, philosopher Shaun Nichols develops the theory that emotions play a critical role in both the psychological and the cultural underpinnings of basic moral judgment. Nichols argues that our norms prohibiting the harming of others are fundamentally associated with our emotional responses to those harms, and that such 'sentimental rules' enjoy an advantage in cultural evolution, which partly explains the success of certain moral norms. This has sweeping and exciting implications for philosophical ethics. Nichols builds on an explosion of recent intriguing experimental work in psychology on our capacity for moral judgment and shows how this empirical work has broad import for enduring philosophical problems. The result is an account that illuminates fundamental questions about the character of moral emotions and the role of sentiment and reason in how we make our moral judgments. This work should appeal widely across philosophy and the other disciplines that comprise cognitive science.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 239 pages
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 1423756606
  • 9781423756606

Review quote

"an impressive essay" --CHOICE"This book is a genuine advance in empirically informed moral philosophy, one should be read by all those interested in normative theory and philosophical psychology, as well as those who seek a model for the manner in which philosophy can become empirical without sacrificing its distinctive methods and identity."--Metapsychology Online Book Reviews"Sentimental Rules is hugely original, uncommonly lucid, highly educational, and refreshingly unabashed in its interdisciplinarity. It sets a new standard for naturalized ethics."--Jesse Prinz, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill"Shaun Nichols' Sentimental Rules is a major contribution to philosophical ethics. Together with such books as Allan Gibbard's Wise Choices, Apt Feelings, and Simon Blackburn's Ruling Passions, it should occupy a focal place in the contemporary literature on 'sentimentalist' ethical theories. By taking subtle, sensible, and far-ranging account of relevant work in the cognitive and behavioral sciences, Sentimental Rules represents a remarkable advance for sentimentalism. Nichols' sophisticated and imaginative handling of the issues, both psychological and philosophical, is a distinctive and significant achievement, which must be read by anyone who aspires to a serious understanding of ethical theory."--John M. Doris, University of California, Santa Cruz"This book brings together an enormously rich variety of evidence from anthropology, the history of etiquette, social psychology, criminology, child development and evolutionary psychology to shed light on the philosophical question of the origin, the nature and the--problematic--justification of moral norms. It exhibits a fine balance between the exposition of fascinating empirical research and the consideration of some of philosophy's oldest questions. The exposition of scientific research is lucid and up to date, and the philosophical contribution original and illuminating. It's a
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About Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is Harry Lightsey Associate Professor in Humanities at the College of Charleston. He has published articles in Cognition, Philosophy of Science, The Monist, Philosophical Topics, Mind & Language, and Analysis. He is also the co-author, with Stephen Stitch, of Mindreading.
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