Phil/Psych 446

Seminar in Cognitive Science

Week 11: Ethics

Theories of ethics

Theological: right = what God says

Kantian: right = in accord with duty, determined a priori

Utilitarian: right = greatest happiness for the greatest number

Intuitionist: right = what I feel is right

Emotivist: right = personal emotional attitude

Ethical issues to which cognitive science is relevant

Are emotional judgments cognitive or emotional or both?

Why should people be ethical? Moral motivation.

Are people egoist or altruistic?

How is human nature relevant to assessing ethical theories?

Discussion questions

1. Is Thagard's neural theory of conscience psychologically plausible?

2. If moral intuitions are brain processes, can they be reliable?

3. Why do people sometimes agree and sometimes disagree about what is right and wrong?

4. Is there a moral universal grammar?

5. What are the implications of neuroscience for issues about legal responsibility?

6. Is neuroscience compatible with free will?

7. Are people's intuitions about free will revisable in the light of cognitive science?



Phil/Psych 446

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated Nov. 19, 2007