Chapter

. Reason, Imagination, and Moral Experience

A. E. Denham

in Metaphor and Moral Experience

Published in print July 2000 | ISBN: 9780198240105
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680076 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240105.003.0006

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

. Reason, Imagination, and Moral Experience

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The epistemic status of moral discourse turns in part on the explanation of divergent moral beliefs. Whether differences of moral opinion there are best explained by a failure accurately to represent specifically moral features of actions and characters, or whether they are better explained by cognitively blameless differences of preference and desire, not only matters to the cognitive claims of moral discourse. The answer to this question should also shed light on the phenomenology of moral experience and the epistemology of moral judgement. Crispin Wright's arguments suggest that an inferential account of moral belief can only be avoided by positing some anomalous faculty of moral perception. This chapter argues that the genesis of moral experience is one in which cognition and affect are jointly implicated, but that their cooperation does nothing to undermine the thought that moral discourse is, for the most part, both conceptually autonomous and genuinely representational. The concepts of moral reasons, rational conflict, moral competence, imagination, and basic moral judgements are also discussed.

Keywords: moral beliefs; moral discourse; moral experience; cognition; moral judgements; moral reasons; imagination; conflict; moral competence

Chapter.  27542 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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