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NeuroexistentialismMeaning, Morals, and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience$
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Gregg Caruso and Owen Flanagan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190460723

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190460723.001.0001

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Does Neuroscience Undermine Morality?

Does Neuroscience Undermine Morality?

(p.54) Chapter 4 Does Neuroscience Undermine Morality?

Paul Henne

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Oxford University Press

In Chapter 4, the authors explore whether neuroscience undermines morality. The authors distinguish, analyze, and assess the main arguments for neuroscientific skepticism about morality and argue that neuroscience does not undermine all of our moral judgments, focusing the majority of their attention on one argument in particular—the idea that neuroscience and psychology might undermine moral knowledge by showing that our moral beliefs result from unreliable processes. They argue that the background arguments needed to bolster the main premise fail to adequately support it. They conclude that the overall issue of neuroscience undermining morality is unsettled, but, they contend, we can reach some tentative and qualified conclusions. Neuroscience is, then, not a general underminer, but can play a constructive role in moral theory, although not by itself. In order to make progress, neuroscience and normative moral theory must work together.

Keywords:   neuroscience, morality, emotion, scepticism, psychology, introspection, moral judgments

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