Moral Sprouts and Natural Teleologies: 21st Century Moral Psychology Meets Classical Chinese Philosophy (Aquinas Lecture)

Owen Flanagan


Marquette University Press

Contemporary Western moral philosophy in harmony with classical Chinese philosophy, the volume consists of the Aquinas lectures delivered by Owen Flanagan at Marquette University in 2014. Appropriately for a lecture series dedicated to Aquinas, Flanagan takes as his focus the "charge" from G.E.M. Anscombe to develop a model of moral psychology that would be robust and empirically accurate enough to serve as a foundation for ethical reflection.

Mere empirical facts about human psychology have, of course, been dismissed as irrelevant to morality in the deontological and utilitarian traditions and the neglect of psychology also defended on the grounds of avoiding the naturalistic fallacy. Flanagan has been one of the pioneers of the contemporary movement pushing for an empirically-responsible, naturalistic ethics, arguing that demanding psychological plausibility of ethical models does not involve breaching the is-ought boundary.