The Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience

  title={The Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience},
  author={Selim Berker},
  journal={Philosophy \& Public Affairs},
  • Selim Berker
  • Published 1 September 2009
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy & Public Affairs
reasoning, it should come as no surprise if we have innate responses to personal violence that are powerful but rather primitive. That is, we might expect humans to have negative emotional responses to certain basic forms of interpersonal violence. ... In contrast, when a harm is impersonal, it should fail to trigger this alarmlike emotional response, allowing people to respond in a more "cognitive" way, perhaps employing a cost-benefit analysis.60 Similarly, Singer writes, For most of our… 

Moral Rationalism on the Brain

  • Joshua May
  • Psychology, Philosophy
    Mind & Language
  • 2021
I draw on neurobiological evidence to defend the rationalist thesis that moral judgments are essentially dependent on reasoning, not emotions (conceived as distinct from inference). The neuroscience

The neuropsychology of moral judgment. About the causes of counter-intuitive responses to moral dilemmas

A growing literature in neuropsychology studies moral judgment with moral dilemmas, testing subjects with neural damage or with anti-social personality traits. It seems to confirm a tendency to

A neuropsychological challenge to the sentimentalism/rationalism distinction

Critical reflection on the available neuropsychological evidence suggests that the roles of emotion and reason in moral judgment may not be distinct. This casts significant doubt on our current

Morality and Cognitive Science

New technology and neuroscientific techniques have led to novel discoveries about the functional organization of the moral brain and the roles that neurotransmitters play in moral judgment.

The Science of Morality and its Normative Implications

Neuromoral theorists are those who claim that a scientific understanding of moral judgment through the methods of psychology, neuroscience and related disciplines can have normative implications and

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Socrates in the fMRI Scanner: The Neurofoundations of Morality and the Challenge to Ethics

  • J. Rueda
  • Philosophy, Psychology
    Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • 2021
Abstract The neuroscience of ethics is allegedly having a double impact. First, it is transforming the view of human morality through the discovery of the neurobiological underpinnings that influence

Neuroscience and Normativity: How Knowledge of the Brain Offers a Deeper Understanding of Moral and Legal Responsibility

Neuroscience can relate to ethics and normative issues via the brain’s cognitive control network. This network accomplishes several executive processes, such as planning, task-switching, monitoring,

Neurons and normativity: A critique of Greene’s notion of unfamiliarity

ABSTRACT In his article “Beyond Point-and-Shoot Morality,” Joshua Greene argues that the empirical findings of cognitive neuroscience have implications for ethics. Specifically, he contends that we

Rational Learners and Moral Rules

People draw subtle distinctions in the normative domain. But it remains unclear exactly what gives rise to such distinctions. On one prominent approach, emotion systems trigger non-utilitarian



An fMRI Investigation of Emotional Engagement in Moral Judgment

It is argued that moral dilemmas vary systematically in the extent to which they engage emotional processing and that these variations in emotional engagement influence moral judgment.

From neural 'is' to moral 'ought': what are the moral implications of neuroscientific moral psychology?

I agree with traditional ethicists that there is a sharp and crucial distinction between the 'is' of science and the 'ought' of ethics, but maintain nonetheless that science, and neuroscience in particular, can have profound ethical implications by providing us with information that will prompt us to re-evaluate the authors' moral values and their conceptions of morality.

78 Earlier versions of this article were presented at the Arché Philosophical Research Centre in St. Andrews, at the Harvard Kennedy School's Safra Center for Ethics

  • the Harvard Humanities Center's Cognitive Theory and the Arts Seminar, and at the 2009 Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress in

Picture Our Thoughts : We ’ re Looking for Too Much in Brain Scans

    Despite Greene's and Singer's claims to the contrary, learning about the neurophysiological bases of our

      Judith Jarvis Thomson, and Hasko Vonkriegstein (on behalf of the moral psychology reading group at Toronto University). For helpful comments and discussion, many thanks as well to Arthur Applbaum

      • Greene was kind enough to attend both sessions at Harvard and to offer clarifications and replies. For written comments on earlier drafts, I am indebted