A Critical Perspective on Moral Neuroscience

25 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2011

See all articles by David V. Yokum

David V. Yokum

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law; University of Arizona - College of Science

Filippo Rossi

University of Arizona - College of Science

Date Written: January 15, 2009

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Yokum, David V. and Rossi, Filippo, A Critical Perspective on Moral Neuroscience (January 15, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1950319 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1950319

David V. Yokum (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

University of Arizona - College of Science ( email )

1040 E. Fourth Street
Tucson, AZ 85721-0077
United States

Filippo Rossi

University of Arizona - College of Science ( email )

1040 E. Fourth Street
Tucson, AZ 85721-0077
United States

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