A Critical Perspective on Moral Neuroscience
25 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2011
Date Written: January 15, 2009
In this paper, we highlight several historical developments in the neuroscience of ethics as well as recent advances that forecast the experimental research to come. We argue, in particular, that our understanding of the moral brain will benefit from the further use of a formal, mathematical approach to the construction and testing of alternative theories, such as that found in the field of neuroeconomics. The use of economic modeling to understand the psychological processes underlying distributional preferences and charitable giving is reviewed to illustrate this potential. We also consider some obstacles to such an approach, notably the challenge of capturing substantive moral values within a mathematical model.
Keywords: Moral Psychology, Neuroethics, Neuroeconomics, Charitable Giving
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