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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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The Emotional Construction of Morals

Jesse J. Prinz

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents and defends an emotionist theory known as sensibility theory. It argues that sensibility theories can explain some central folk intuitions about the nature of morality. However, sensibility theories face a number of serious objections. In the second part of this chapter, ten objections that can be found in the literature are discussed. It is argued that a properly formulated sensibility theory has resources to overcome each of these. Sensibility theory offers one way of accommodating the evidence that moral judgement is affect-laden. This is one of its main advantages, but it is not the only approach that ties moral judgements to emotions. Emotivism, for example, can boast the same. To motivate the adoption of sensibility theory, we need to show that it has other advantages. One attraction is that sensibility theory accommodates the evidence used to support moral intuitionism without taking on any of the baggage.

Keywords:   sensibility theory, approbation, disapprobation, moral motivation, moral concepts, moral judgements, emotions

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