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Moral Judgment, Moral Cognition, Emotion, Moral Psychology


One of the central questions in both metaethics and empirical moral psychology is whether moral judgments are the products of reason or emotions. This way of putting the question relies on an overly simplified view of reason and emotion as two fully independent cognitive faculties whose causal contributions to moral judgment can be cleanly separated. However, there is a significant body of evidence in the cognitive sciences that seriously undercuts this conception of reason and emotion, and supports the view that moral judgments are caused by a complex interplay of psychological mechanisms that are both cognitive and affective, but in a way that is not simply a function of the independent causal contributions of reason and emotion. The paper concludes by considering the implications of this view for metaethics.