Making Sense of Moral Perception

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that Francis Hutcheson’s moral sense theory offers a satisfactory account of moral perception. I introduce Hutcheson’s work in §1 and indicate why the existence of a sixth sense is not implausible. I provide a summary of Robert Cowan and Robert Audi’s resp...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Ethical theory and moral practice
Main Author: McGregor, Rafe 1973-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Springer Science + Business Media B. V [2015]
In: Ethical theory and moral practice
Year: 2015, Volume: 18, Issue: 4, Pages: 745-758
IxTheo Classification:NBE Anthropology
NCA Ethics
TJ Modern history
TK Recent history
VA Philosophy
ZD Psychology
Further subjects:B moral perception
B Francis Hutcheson
B Moral sense theory
B Sensory modalities
B Charles Darwin
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that Francis Hutcheson’s moral sense theory offers a satisfactory account of moral perception. I introduce Hutcheson’s work in §1 and indicate why the existence of a sixth sense is not implausible. I provide a summary of Robert Cowan and Robert Audi’s respective theories of evaluative perception in §2, identifying three problematic objections: the Directness Objection to Cowan’s ethical perception and the aesthetic and perceptual model objections to Audi’s moral perception. §3 examines Hutcheson’s moral sense theory, focusing on his discussion of benevolence, the desire for the happiness of others. I deal with the unresolved issues in Hutcheson’s account by recourse to Charles Darwin’s evolutionary perspective on the moral sense in §4, arguing for the moral sense as the second-order faculty for judging benevolence. I return, in §5, to the objections, showing that moral sense theory solves all three problems and therefore offers a satisfactory account of moral perception.
ISSN:1572-8447
Contains:Enthalten in: Ethical theory and moral practice
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1007/s10677-015-9601-9