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Externalism and Moral Psychology

Andrew Sneddon

Publication Year: 2011

A proposal that the cognitive processes that make us moral agents are partially constituted by features of our external environments.

Published by: The MIT Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

My project in this book is to chart the boundaries of the psychology of moral agency. My method is to unite two discussions in philosophical psychology that have to date proceeded independently of each other. On one hand there is the booming interdisciplinary work done in philosophical moral psychology since the 1990s. ...

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1. Introduction: Externalism and Moral Psychology

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pp. 1-24

What are the psychological foundations of morality? What psychological capacities enable us to evaluate actions? To act in accordance with moral norms? To attribute moral responsibility to ourselves and others? Although these have been perennial concerns for philosophers, there has been a flurry of work on them in recent years ...

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2. The Disunity of Moral Judgment

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pp. 25-70

The topic of this chapter is moral judgment. By that I mean the psychological capacity or capacities by which we evaluate actions, states of affairs, and persons in moral terms. This is the central topic for most present-day philosophical moral psychology. I say “capacity or capacities” because of the question as to whether moral judgment ...

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3. Moral Reasoning

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pp. 71-110

The topic of this chapter is moral reasoning, by which I mean (following Jonathan Haidt and the tradition of research on moral reasoning stemming from Jean Piaget until the present day, with Lawrence Kohlberg as its prime figure) conscious, intentional transformation of information about moral issues (Haidt 2001, 818). ...

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4. Rethinking the Reactive Attitudes: Attributing Moral Responsibility

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pp. 111-156

This chapter is about the capacities required to attribute moral responsibility to ourselves and others. Suppose that someone does something nice for you. Flushed with gratitude, you thank the person for her benevolence. What are the cognitive capacities required for you to praise someone in this manner? ...

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5. The Production of Action

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pp. 157-202

Recent years have seen the development of the implications of the “personsituation” debate in psychology for philosophical discussions of virtue, most notably by Gilbert Harman (1999, 2000) and John Doris (1998, 2002). The reception of this work has been lukewarm at best. I, for one, have been convinced, so I find this a bit puzzling. ...

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6. Psychological Pluralism, Environmental Sensitivity, and the Bounds of Morality

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pp. 203-250

I have made a case that cognitive systems that extend beyond individual agents into the wider world, including other agents, are important constituents of the psychology of normal moral agency. Along the way, I have made the case that the psychology of moral agency turns out to be, at virtually every turn, heterogeneous. ...


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pp. 251-262


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pp. 263-278


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pp. 279-282

E-ISBN-13: 9780262298926
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262016117

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2011