Moral Sentimentalism and Its Emotional Foundations

The claim that our moral judgments depend in some way or other on certain moral emotions is not new. Recent attempts at understanding morality as something natural have brought forward a new interest in the moral emotions. We shall on the one hand look at some of the recent accounts of emotions like ‘sympathy’, ‘empathy’ and ‘altruism’ and on the other at recent attempts at developing moral theories (theories of moral judgments, their justification and motivational force) that attribute a central role to such emotions.

The course will be taught in English.


Reading list:

Michael Slote (2010) Moral Sentimentalism. Oxford: OUP.

Walker, Margaret Urban (2007/2nd ed) Moral Understanding. A Feminist Study in Ethics. Oxford: OUP.

Selected passages from the following books:

Gordon, Mary (2005 and more) Roots of Empathy. Changing the World Child by Child. New York: The Experiment.

Hoffmann, Martin L. (2000) Empathy and Moral Development. Implications for Caring and Justice. Cambridge: CUP.

The reading list is preliminary and might still be subject to changes.