Moral Psychology, Volume 3: The Neuroscience of Morality

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

For much of the 20th century, philosophy and science went their separate ways. In moral philosophy, fear of the so-called naturalistic fallacy kept moral philosophers from incorporating developments in biology and psychology. Since the 1990s, however, many philosophers have drawn on recent advances in cognitive psychology, brain science, and evolutionary psychology to inform their work. This collaborative trend is especially strong in moral philosophy, and these three volumes bring together some of the most innovative work by both philosophers and psychologists in this emerging interdisciplinary field. The neuroscience of morality is in its infancy, with the first brain imaging studies of moral development undertaken only in 2001.

The contributors to volume 3 sample the best work in this very new field, discussing a variety of approaches, including functional imaging, lesion studies, abnormal psychology, and developmental neuroscience. Each chapter includes an essay, comments on the essay by other scholars, and a reply by the author(s) of the original essay. Topics include the neural basis of moral emotions and moral judgments as well as comparisons of normal adult moral judgments with those made by children, adolescents, and people with psychopathy, brain damage, and autism.