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The Emotional Construction of Morals 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0199571543
ISBN-10: 0199571546
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Editorial Reviews


"Prinz's intellectual enterprise is of truly classical proportions...[his] work is certainly original and deserves all praise for bridging so many gaps between intellectual communities."--Metapsychology Online Review

"There is much to like about Prinz's arguments throughout the book, and they need
to be taken seriously by subjectivists and objectivists alike... Prinz's arguments are compelling, ingenious, and hard to refute. Sentimentalists would be richly rewarded by taking his arguments into account." -- Philosophical Psychology

About the Author

Jesse Prinz is John J. Rogers Professor of Philosophy at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199571546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199571543
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.8 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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58 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on April 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first thing to understand about moral rules is that they are made by people, in the same sense that art, music, and theatre are made by people. People also are responsible for mathematics and science, but here there is a crucial difference: we discover mathematical truths and the laws of the Universe, we do not make them. This distinction is blurred by the fact that we attach truth value to moral rules, but not to art or music, thus giving the impression that a moral rule has something in common with a mathematical or scientific truth. The reason for attaching truth-values to moral rules is that there is a kind of moral modus ponens: if p implies q and p is morally valid/obligatory/permissible, then q is morally valid/obligatory/permissible. Despite the pragmatic value of this sort of modal reasoning, it does have the drawback of appearing to place moral rules in an ethereal sphere with the axioms of arithmetic and the theory of relativity---truths that are independent of our will. The greatest offender in this regard was probably Kant, for whom moral behavior was obligatory and impersonal, and for whom deriving pleasure from doing good was a detraction from the pure morality of the act.

Jesse Prinz is a latterday defender of the sort of naturalist approach to morality expressed in the previous paragraph, taking up where Hume and the English empiricists left off. "morality derives from us." Prinz asserts (p. 1) "The good is that which we regard as good. The obligatory is that which we regard as obligatory....Thus, normative ethics can be approached as social science." Much of this volume is a defense of this position in face of the voluminous criticism of philosophers with other views.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phillip F. Crenshaw on September 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dr. Prinz gives us another very interesting way to look at morals.
I have always found Dr. Prinz's works to be clear and thought provoking.
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