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Social Sciences - Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility | What Makes Us Moral? On the capacities and conditions for being moral

What Makes Us Moral? On the capacities and conditions for being moral

Musschenga, Bert, van Harskamp, Anton (Eds.)

2014, VIII, 352 p. 4 illus.

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  • Deals with the role of social and historical factors of morality
  • Discusses whether animals can be said to have a morality
  • Contains revealing case-studies, e.g., on the Holocaust, on terrorism, and on Vico
This book addresses the question of what it means to be moral and which capacities one needs to be moral. It questions whether empathy is a cognitive or an affective capacity, or perhaps both. As most moral beings behave immorally from time to time, the authors ask which factors cause or motivate people to translate their moral beliefs into action? Specially addressed is the question of what is the role of internal factors such as willpower, commitment, character, and what is the role of external, situational and structural factors? The questions are considered from various (disciplinary) perspectives.​

Content Level » Research

Keywords » animal morals - evolution of morality - history of morality - human morality - moral psychology - social factors morality

Related subjects » Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility - Personality & Social Psychology - Philosophy

Table of contents 



Bert Musschenga: What makes us moral? An introduction


Part I: Morality, evolution and rationality


Alejandro Rosas: Rationality and deceit; Why rational egoism cannot make us moral

Katharine Browne: Two problems of cooperation

Catherine Herfeld and Katrien Schaubroeck: The importance of commitment; How Harry Frankfurt’s concept of care contributes to Rational Choice Theory

Markus Christen and Thomas Ott: Quantified coherence of moral beliefs as predictive factor for moral agency


Part II: Morality and the continuity between human and nonhuman primates


Bert Musschenga: Animal morality and human morality

Florian Cova: Two kinds of moral competence; Moral agent, moral judge

Andrés Luco: Humean moral motivation

Harry Wels: Whispering empathy; Transdisciplinary reflections on research methodology


Part III: Nativism and non-nativism


Jessy Giroux: The origin of moral norms and the role of innate dispositions

Carsten Fogh Nielsen: It’s complicated – Moral nativism, moral input, and moral development

Julia Hermann: Learning to be moral

Gerben Meynen: Why mental disorders can diminish responsibility; Proposing a theoretical framework

Darcia Narvaez: Natural morality, moral natures and human flourishing


Part IV: Religion and (im)morality


Stephen Maitzen: Atheism and the basis of morality

Anton van Harskamp: What makes the martyr (im)moral?

Bettine Siertsema: Moral lessons from monstrosity; The Kindly Ones and the reader



Part V:  Morality beyond naturalism


David Rose: Society and the origin of moral law: Giambattista Vico and non-reductive naturalism

Adam Seligman: Enacting the moral: concrete particularity and subjunctive space


About the authors


Index of names and subjects

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