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The Emotional Construction of Morals - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Emotional Construction of Morals

Jesse Prinz


This book argues that recent work in philosophy, neuroscience, and anthropology supports two radical hypotheses about the nature of morality: moral values are based on emotional responses, and these emotional responses are inculcated by culture, not hard-wired through natural selection. In the first half of the book, the hypothesis that morality has an emotional foundation is defended. Evidence from brain imaging, social psychology, and psychopathology suggest that, when we judge something to be right or wrong, we are merely expressing our emotions. The book claims that these emotions do not t ... More

Keywords: cannibalism, relativism, morality, moral values, cultural history, natural selection, brain imaging, social psychology, psychopathology, emotions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780199571543
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571543.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jesse Prinz, author
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Author Webpage

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