The Psychological Basis of Moral Judgments : Philosophical and Empirical Approaches to Moral Relativism book cover
1st Edition

The Psychological Basis of Moral Judgments
Philosophical and Empirical Approaches to Moral Relativism

ISBN 9780367740757
Published July 19, 2021 by Routledge
370 Pages

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Book Description

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

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John J. Park is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at California State University, USA