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Sentimental RulesOn the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgement$
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Shaun Nichols

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169348

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195169344.001.0001

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Norms with Feeling

Norms with Feeling

Toward a Psychological Account of Moral Judgment

(p.3) 1 Norms with Feeling
Sentimental Rules

Shaun Nichols

Oxford University Press

A large tradition of work in moral psychology explores the capacity for moral judgment by focusing on the basic capacity to distinguish moral violations (e.g., hitting another person) from conventional violations (e.g., playing with your food). This method plausibly reveals a capacity for a kind of coremoral judgment. Recent evidence indicates that affect plays a crucial role in mediating the capacity to draw the moral/conventional distinguish. However, the prevailing account of the role of affect in moral judgment is problematic. This chapter argues that the capacity to draw the moral/conventional distinction depends on both a body of information about which actions are prohibited (“a normative theory”) and an affective mechanism that confers a special status on the norms.

Keywords:   autism, core moral judgment, disgust, harm norms, mindreading, moral/conventional distinction, normative theory, perspective taking, psychopathy, James Blair, Elliott Turiel

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