Seminar: Empathy, Perspective-taking and Moral Judgment

Many people think of morality as primarily concerned with promoting the good of others and view moral motivation as based on altruistic motives, a capacity for empathy, and the ability to understand the perspectives of others. And yet, just as important to morality are the duties that require us to comply with social norms based on conventions that promote various forms of cooperation. Do people have a moral motive to comply with such norms? We will begin with David Hume’s account of the motives for the natural virtues of “benevolence” and the quite different motives for compliance with the “artificial” (i.e. socially constructed) virtues of justice. We will branch out from there with readings from moral philosophy, developmental psychology, behavioral economics, and anthropology that will help us understand how social norms are inculcated and enforced - and how they are revised.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 16

Prerequisites: At least one course in Philosophy, Psychology, Neuroscience, or Cognitive and Linguistic Science.

Instructor: McIntyre

Distribution Requirements: EC - Epistemology and Cognition

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Not Offered