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Psychologies of Ethics

Psychologies of Ethics

Chapter:
(p.39) Chapter 1 Psychologies of Ethics
Source:
Ethical Life
Author(s):
Webb Keane
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691167732.003.0002

This chapter explores some of the major findings in developmental, cognitive, and moral psychology that have been taken as evidence for the foundations of ethics. It looks at research on human capacities and propensities for things such as sharing and cooperation, intention-seeking, empathy, self-consciousness, norm-seeking and enforcement, discrimination, and role-swapping. While these human capacities are necessary, they are not sufficient conditions for ethical life. What they help explain is what it is about humans that makes them prone to taking an ethical stance. For the psychology of ethics to have a full social existence, it must be manifest in ways that are taken to be ethical by someone. Ethics must be embodied in certain palpable media such as words or deeds or bodily habits. The ethical implications must be at least potentially recognizable to other people.

Keywords:   moral psychology, ethics, human capacities, ethical life, ethical implications, intention-seeking, norm-seeking, discrimination, role-swapping

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