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The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory$
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David Copp

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147797

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195147790.001.0001

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Moral Sentimentalism and Moral Psychology

Moral Sentimentalism and Moral Psychology

The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory

Michael Slote (Contributor Webpage)

, David Copp
Oxford University Press

Moral sentimentalism holds that moral sentiment is the source of moral judgment and moral motivation. It contrasts with rationalism, which puts reason in place of sentiment. Sentimentalism goes hand in hand with a virtue theoretic approach in normative ethics. In the version of sentimentalism defended here, the chief moral sentiment is empathic concern. The chaper argues that moral goodness consists in empathic concern for others. Moreover, it argues that the reference of moral terms is fixed by actual empathic reactions, and not by reactions to merely possible circumstances.

Keywords:   empathy, concern, virtue, moral terms, sentimentalism, rationalism

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