Does neuroscience undermine morality?

Book Section

In Chapter 4, the authors explore whether neuroscience undermines morality. The authors distinguish, analyze, and assess the main arguments for neuroscientific skepticism about morality and argue that neuroscience does not undermine all of our moral judgments, focusing the majority of their attention on one argument in particular-the idea that neuroscience and psychology might undermine moral knowledge by showing that our moral beliefs result from unreliable processes. They argue that the background arguments needed to bolster the main premise fail to adequately support it. They conclude that the overall issue of neuroscience undermining morality is unsettled, but, they contend, we can reach some tentative and qualified conclusions. Neuroscience is, then, not a general underminer, but can play a constructive role in moral theory, although not by itself. In order to make progress, neuroscience and normative moral theory must work together.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Henne, P; Sinnott-Armstrong, W

Published Date

  • January 1, 2018

Book Title

  • Neuroexistentialism: Meaning, Morals, and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience

Start / End Page

  • 54 - 67

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780190460723

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/oso/9780190460723.003.0004

Citation Source

  • Scopus