Read e-book online The Biology and Psychology of Moral Agency PDF

By William Andrew Rottschaefer

ISBN-10: 0511527357

ISBN-13: 9780511527357

ISBN-10: 0521064503

ISBN-13: 9780521064507

ISBN-10: 0521592658

ISBN-13: 9780521592659

This crucial booklet brings fresh findings and theories in biology and psychology to endure at the basic query in ethics of what it potential to act morally. by way of proposing a whole version of ethical company in line with modern evolutionary conception, developmental biology and psychology, and social cognitive conception, the publication bargains a different point of view. it is going to be learn with revenue by means of a large diversity of philosophers, in addition to psychologists and biologists.

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One of my primary goals, then, is to construct and support a scientific naturalistic metaethics. In addition to these substantive contributions of the sciences to ethics, specifically to an account of moral agency, there is also the issue of the methodological connections between morality and the sciences. What are the relationships, if any, between ethical and scientific knowing? Scientific knowing is typically described in terms of observation, experimentation, the formulation and testing of hypotheses and theories, prediction, and explanation.

5 a theoretically plausible story about the phylogenesis of evolutionarily based moral capacities. 1 EVOLUTIONARY THEORY First, we must distinguish the fact of evolution —modification with descent, as Darwin called it — from explanations of evolution. Evolution can be described in terms of the changes in organisms over time that have led to the diversity of past and present life forms. These changes are reflected in such phenomena as biogeographical distribution, the order of the fossil record, the morphological and physiological similarities between past and contemporary forms, resemblances among contemporary organisms, and the adaptations of organisms to their environments (Darwin 1859; Kitcher 1985; Ruse 1986).

A relatively maximal condition on freedom would require that the reflective level be operative. A minimal one requires merely that the action performed by base-level or behavioral-level motivational systems be of the sort that a third-level intervention was possible, that is, that they not be compulsive. I argue in Chapter 6 that a more complete, as well as a more philosophically and empirically adequate account of moral agency requires the postulation of a fourth-level motivational system, a self-system.

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The Biology and Psychology of Moral Agency by William Andrew Rottschaefer


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