This chapter explores potential implications of eighteenth-century sentimentalism for both academic research and public policy in the twenty-first century. It begins with the many potential contributions Enlightenment sentimentalism could make to today’s empirical social science, in disciplines from neuroscience to behavioral economics to descriptive moral and political psychology. It then goes on to explore sentimentalism’s potential contribution to normative moral and political philosophy, with a focus on the distinctive sentimentalist position on the proper relationship between facts and values, and hence between empirical science and normative theory. The chapter concludes by pointing out that, in addition to being of considerable academic interest, sentimentalist theory could also help improve political practice in matters including democratic deliberation and civic education.
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