Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment

Paperback | February 15, 2007

byShaun Nichols

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Sentimental Rules is an ambitious and highly interdisciplinary work, which proposes and defends a new theory about the nature and evolution of moral judgment. In it, philosopher Shaun Nichols develops the theory that emotions play a critical role in both the psychological and the culturalunderpinnings of basic moral judgment. Nichols argues that our norms prohibiting the harming of others are fundamentally associated with our emotional responses to those harms, and that such "sentimental rules" enjoy an advantage in cultural evolution, which partly explains the success of certainmoral norms. This has sweeping and exciting implications for philosophical ethics. Nichols builds on an explosion of recent intriguing experimental work in psychology on our capacity for moral judgment and shows how this empirical work has broad import for enduring philosophical problems. The result is an account that illuminates fundamental questions about the character of moralemotions and the role of sentiment and reason in how we make our moral judgments. This work should appeal widely across philosophy and the other disciplines that comprise cognitive science.

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Sentimental Rules is an ambitious and highly interdisciplinary work, which proposes and defends a new theory about the nature and evolution of moral judgment. In it, philosopher Shaun Nichols develops the theory that emotions play a critical role in both the psychological and the culturalunderpinnings of basic moral judgment. Nichols a...

Shaun Nichols is Harry Lightsey Associate Professor in Humanities at the College of Charleston. He has published articles in Cognition, Philosophy of Science, The Monist, Philosophical Topics, Mind and Language, and Analysis. He is also the co-author, with Stephen Stitch, of Mindreading.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:February 15, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195314204

ISBN - 13:9780195314205

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"Shaun Nichols' Sentimental Rules is a major contribution to philosophical ethics. Together with such books as Allan Gibbard's Wise Choices, Apt Feelings, and Simon Blackburn's Ruling Passions, it should occupy a focal place in the contemporary literature on 'sentimentalist' ethical theories.By taking subtle, sensible, and far-ranging account of relevant work in the cognitive and behavioral sciences, Sentimental Rules represents a remarkable advance for sentimentalism. Nichols' sophisticated and imaginative handling of the issues, both psychological and philosophical, is a distinctiveand significant achievement, which must be read by anyone who aspires to a serious understanding of ethical theory."--John M. Doris, University of California, Santa Cruz