Seminar: Empirical Moral Psychology in the Twentieth Century

Venue: Oxford Martin School (Old Indian Institute) – seminar room 1

Speaker: Dr. Regina Rini (Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics)

Title: Empirical Moral Psychology in the Twentieth Century   – a half-day seminar

Date and time: Tuesday, 24 April (Trinity Term week 1)     10.00-13.00

In the past decade, empirical research into moral judgment has attracted great attention from science, philosophy, and the general public. While undeniably rich and important, much of this research seems surprisingly divorced from earlier empirical investigations. Beginning with Darwin and Freud, and with special attention to the mid-century impacts of Jean Piaget and B.F. Skinner, this half-day seminar aims to explore the intellectual antecedents of contemporary research. We will focus on the development of two overlapping debates: the purported innateness of moral judgment, and the contrasting roles of intuition and deliberation in moral decision-making. Although the source material is principally psychological, a chief aim of the seminar is to examine implications for philosophy, especially in metaethics and the methodology of normative theory.

The seminar will consist of two lectures, separated by a short break. Significant time will be allotted for questions. Much of the material is a condensation of a graduate course offered by Dr. Rini in Michaelmas 2011; it is presented here particularly for the benefit of interested Uehiro Centre and Philosophy members – although, of course, others are welcome.

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