Toward a cognitive neurobiology of the moral virtues

  • Churchland P
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Recent neural-network models of cognition--first used to illuminate perceptual, linguistic, motor, and scientific cognition--also throw light on the nature of moral cognition. The primary impact is on metaethics, specifically, on moral epistemology, and moral psychology (as opposed to substantive moral doctrine). However, the picture of moral knowledge that emerges from this neurobiological reconstruction is one moral philosophers will recognize. It is the picture defended by Aristotle and by contemporary proponents of "virtue ethics." I provide an introductory explanation of the relevant neurocomputational ideas and trace their consequences for a dozen notion central to moral philosophy.

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  • Paul M. Churchland

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