Chapter

Conscience

Paul Thagard and Tracy Finn

in Morality and the Emotions

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199577507
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731235 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577507.003.0008
Conscience

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This chapter uses a neural theory of emotional consciousness to develop a novel account of conscience and moral intuition. Emotions are both cognitive appraisals and somatic perceptions, performed simultaneously by interacting brain areas. Conscience is a kind of moral intuition, which is a neural process that generates emotional intuitions combining bodily reactions with cognitive appraisal concerning a special subset of goals. This account explains how moral intuitions can be both cognitive and emotional, and why both moral agreement and disagreement are common. The theory of conscience defended here is both descriptive and normative, showing how to evaluate the ethical and epistemological validity of intuitions.

Keywords: cognitive appraisal; conscience; consciousness; emotion; intuition; moral judgment; normative; somatic perception

Chapter.  8751 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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