We’re All Connected: Science, Ethics, and the Law

Stephen Stich

in Creating Consilience

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794393
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919338 | DOI:

Series: New Directions in Cognitive Science

We’re All Connected: Science, Ethics, and the Law

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Though empirical claims have always played a prominent role in theories advanced by moral philosophers, until recently, findings in psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology have made very little impact on moral theory. Over the last decade, however, that situation has changed dramatically as a new generation of scientifically informed philosophers and philosophically sophisticated scientists have begun to transform the way moral philosophy is done. This chapter illustrates some of the ways in which empirical theories and findings can advance traditional debates in moral theory and contemporary debates in legal theory. A central theme of the discussion is that scientists who aspire to contribute to debates in moral theory must understand the issues that philosophers have been concerned with, how they are interconnected, and why they are thought to be important.

Keywords: moral psychology; definition of morality; moral realism; moral skepticism; moral relativism; moral distinction; conventional distinction; Elliot Turiel; disgust; experimental philosophy

Chapter.  6964 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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