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The Emotional Construction of Morals$
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Jesse Prinz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571543.001.0001

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(p.13) 1 Emotionism
The Emotional Construction of Morals

Jesse J. Prinz

Oxford University Press

Moral judgements are anything but indifferent and this is exemplified in this chapter through the comparison of asking opinion about capital punishment in which a common answer would be the feeling that it is unjustifiable. If it is turned into the question of one's feeling about trees, the answer would probably not be that one feels they photosynthesize. Ethical theorists, on the other hand, are prepared to reject the contrast as the claim that emotions figure into morality can be defined in various ways. There are two distinct emotionist theses and these are discussed in the present chapter arguing first that identifying moral properties cannot be made without referring to an emotion or class of emotions. Philosophical arguments are considered in favor of emotionism, although the cases presented are not intended to be demonstrative proof that the ontology and epistemology of morals can be implicated by emotions.

Keywords:   emotionism, metaphysical emotionism, moral properties, emotions, epistemic emotionism, essential relations, moral judgements, morality, moral development

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