This volume examines the psychological basis of moral judgments and asks what theories of concepts apply to moral concepts. By combining philosophical reasoning and empirical insights from the fields of moral psychology, cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, and neuroscience, it considers what mental states not only influence, but also constitute our moral concepts and judgments. On this basis, Park proposes a novel pluralistic theory of moral concepts which includes three different cognitive structures and emotions. Thus, our moral judgments are shown to be a hybrid that express both cognitive and conative states.
In part through analysis of new empirical data on moral semantic intuitions, gathered via cross-cultural experimental research, Park reveals that the referents of individuals’ moral judgments and concepts vary across time, contexts, and groups. On this basis, he contends for moral relativism, where moral judgments cannot be universally true across time and location but only relative to groups.
This powerfully argued text will be of interest to researchers, academics, and educators with an interest in cognitive science, moral theory, philosophy of psychology, and moral psychology more broadly. Those interested in ethics, applied social psychology, and moral development will also benefit from the volume.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Constitution Project
Chapter 1: The Groundwork for Theories of Moral Concepts
Chapter 2: Concerning Human Understanding
Chapter 3: From Causal Studies in Moral Psychology to Moral Concepts
Chapter 4: The Prototype, Exemplar, and Classical Views
Chapter 5: The Theory View
Chapter 6: Moral Nativism & Evolutionary Ethics
Chapter 7: The Conative View & the Moral/Conventional Task
Chapter 8: The Conative View Established
Chapter 9: Induction & Concept Combination
Chapter 10: Cognitivism/Non-Cognitivism & Motivational Judgment Internalism/Externalism
Part II: The Semantic Project and Moral Relativism
Chapter 11: Moral Semantic Relativism
Chapter 12: Moral Relativism
Chapter 13: Moral Ontological Relativism
John J. Park is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at California State University, USA