Moral Emotions In Shaun Nichols's Sentimentalism Naturalized

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Emotions play an important role in moral judgment. In Sentimentalism Naturalized, Shaun Nichols points out that normal people have a capacity to be guided by norms or rules of various kinds, and certain non-moral emotional dispositions, such as the disposition to have an emotional response to suffering in others. Nichols is arguing against the neo-sentimentalist, who believe that, to think an act x, is wrong is to accept norms that recommend a person feel guilt for x, and that others feel resentment. The purpose of this paper will discuss Nichols’s own version of sentimentalism and point out some of it’s problems. The argument that Nichols is making is against neo-sentimentalist on the view that the capacity for moral judgment depends on the capacity for judging the appropriateness of guilt. Nichols claims that there are large populations of individuals such as children and psychopaths who have the capacity for moral judgment but lack the capacity for judging the appropriateness of guilt. Nichols backs this information up with actual psychological experiments specifically in children and psychopaths. Core moral judgment depends on two components, which Nichols calls normative theory and an affirmative mechanism. The normative theory basically tells a person which acts are wrong such as pulling someone’s hair or speaking to a person inches away from their face. The affirmative mechanism is activated when we see others suffering, such as someone witnessing a car accident

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