Moral empiricism: A rational learning approach to moral judgment

Lecturer: Shaun B. Nichols, University of Arizona
Thursday, 4-6-17
Moore Hall B03, 4:45 pm
Reception to follow
This event is free and open to the public!

About the lecture:
Philosophical observation and psychological studies indicate that people draw subtle distinctions in the normative domain.  But it remains unclear exactly what gives rise to such distinctions. On one prominent approach, emotion systems trigger non-utilitarian judgments. The main alternative, inspired by Chomskyan linguistics, suggests that moral distinctions derive from an innate moral grammar. We draw on recent developments in learning theory to argue that several aspects of moral judgment can be explained in terms of rational inference.

Shaun Nichols is the Sherwin Scott Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona.  His research focuses on the psychological underpinnings of ordinary thinking about philosophical issues.  Nichols’ research has been funded by the National Institute of Health, the Templeton Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research, and he is 2017 President of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology. He is the author of Mindreading (with Stephen Stich, Oxford 2003), Sentimental Rules (Oxford 2004), Bound (Oxford 2015) as well as 100 articles in academic journals and volumes.

Sponsored by the Cognitve Science Program