Neuro-cognitive systems involved in morality

James Blair, A. A. Marsh, E. Finger, K. S. Blair, J. Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper, we will consider the neuro-cognitive systems involved in mediating morality. Five main claims will be made. First, that there are multiple, partially separable neuro-cognitive architectures that mediate specific aspects of morality: social convention, care-based morality, disgust-based morality and fairness/justice. Second, that all aspects of morality, including social convention, involve affect. Third, that the neural system particularly important for social convention, given its role in mediating anger and responding to angry expressions, is ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Fourth, that the neural systems particularly important for care-based morality are the amygdala and medial orbital frontal cortex. Fifth, that while Theory of Mind is not a prerequisite for the development of affect-based ‘automatic moral attitudes’, it is critically involved in many aspects of moral reasoning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-27
Number of pages15
JournalPhilosophical Explorations
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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