Moral Sentimentalism in Counterfactual Contexts: Moral Properties Are Response-Enabled

Moral Sentimentalism in Counterfactual Contexts: Moral Properties Are Response-Enabled According to moral sentimentalism, there are close connections between moral truths and moral emotions. Emotions largely form our moral attitudes. They contribute to our answerability to moral obligations. We take them as authoritative in guiding moral judgement. This role is difficult to understand if one accepts a full-blown moral realism, according to which moral truths are completely independent of our emotional response to them. Hence it is tempting to claim that moral truths depend on our emotional responses. I outline a problem for this view: we are adamant that, if our moral sentiments were different, things would be the same, morally speaking. Moral truth does not seem to counterfactually depend on moral sentiments. I show how this independence can be reconciled with the role of moral sentiments in guiding our moral outlook. I draw on Yablo’s distinction between response-dependent and response-enabled properties. I propose that moral truths are response-enabled: their supervenience base does not include anything about our emotions. Hence they do not counterfactually depend on changes in our emotional response. However, their factual supervenience base being naturally ineligible, it is ultimately our response that enables them to play their role as an independent moral compass. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophia Springer Journals

Moral Sentimentalism in Counterfactual Contexts: Moral Properties Are Response-Enabled

Philosophia , Volume 46 (1) – Oct 13, 2017

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy, general; Epistemology; Ethics; Philosophy of Language; Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Science
ISSN
0048-3893
eISSN
1574-9274
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11406-017-9913-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

According to moral sentimentalism, there are close connections between moral truths and moral emotions. Emotions largely form our moral attitudes. They contribute to our answerability to moral obligations. We take them as authoritative in guiding moral judgement. This role is difficult to understand if one accepts a full-blown moral realism, according to which moral truths are completely independent of our emotional response to them. Hence it is tempting to claim that moral truths depend on our emotional responses. I outline a problem for this view: we are adamant that, if our moral sentiments were different, things would be the same, morally speaking. Moral truth does not seem to counterfactually depend on moral sentiments. I show how this independence can be reconciled with the role of moral sentiments in guiding our moral outlook. I draw on Yablo’s distinction between response-dependent and response-enabled properties. I propose that moral truths are response-enabled: their supervenience base does not include anything about our emotions. Hence they do not counterfactually depend on changes in our emotional response. However, their factual supervenience base being naturally ineligible, it is ultimately our response that enables them to play their role as an independent moral compass.

Journal

PhilosophiaSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 13, 2017

References

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