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Morality for Humans: Ethical Understanding from the Perspective of Cognitive Science Hardcover – March 26, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In Morality for Humans, Johnson has his hands on what counts in life: how moral appraisals are not separate from intelligence, aesthetic sensibility, flexibility, imagination, or creativity. In fact, that is how the book unfolds, by showing the interrelationship of these constructs. The end is human flourishing, respect for the unifying sensibilities of our experiences and their complexities, and a positive sense of well-being.”
(Jay Schulkin, Georgetown University)

Morality for Humans is a deep and important book on ethics and on the cognitive science of morality. Mark Johnson is a well-known founder of the movement for empirically responsible ethics that began in the early 1990’s, and in Morality for Humans he manages to synthesize his seminal work on moral imagination, metaphor, analogical reasoning, and practical problem-solving with deep thinking about how morality connects with the larger project of living meaningfully, with purpose, in a way that matters and makes a difference. At a time when too much moral psychology is absorbed with brain scans of college students solving ecologically invalid dilemmas about runaway trolleys, Johnson’s is a mature work that examines morality in the human ecologies in which it resides and provides wisdom about the contours of a good human life.”
(Owen Flanagan, author of Varieties of Moral Personality)

Morality for Humans is an original work of philosophy, soundly researched and clearly argued. Johnson effectively critiques our traditional views of morality and moral reasoning as seriously flawed because they rely on faulty and outdated views of human nature, moral psychology, and reasoning. He provides instead a stimulating picture of morality as involving open inquiry that requires imagination rather than fixed, absolute rules. Johnson is a distinguished philosopher, and this book represents a worthy addition to his corpus and to philosophical reflection on the important relations between embodied mind and morality.”
(Richard Shusterman, author of Thinking through the Body)

“A welcome renewal and defense of John Dewey's ethical naturalism, which Johnson claims is the only morality ‘fit for actual human beings.’ The book straddles the divide between questions in moral psychology—What values do we have? Where did they come from? What role does reason play in moral deliberation?—and questions of normative and metaethics—From where do values get genuine normative authority? How do we properly rank our values when they compete with each other? These questions weave together throughout the book. . . . . He has set the stage for a promising dialogue, and we can look forward to his future contributions to the conversation.”
(Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)

“Traditionally, moral reasoning has been seen as a matter of conscious analysis—to identify pre-existing moral principles and then apply them. Cognitive science reveals that this cannot be correct, since much moral thinking happens subconsciously. As a result of experiments in moral psychology, many scientists have concluded that intuitive judgements come first, followed later, if at all, by rational justification. That's fine as far as it goes, says Johnson. But he recognises a key third process, which he calls ‘imaginative moral deliberation’—and this is where his real insight comes.”
(New Scientist)

About the Author

Mark Johnson is the Philip H. Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. He is the author of several books, including The Meaning of the Body, The Body in the Mind, and Moral Imagination, and coauthor, with George Lakoff, of Metaphors We Live By and Philosophy in the Flesh.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (March 26, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022611340X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226113401
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John on April 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Johnson has done a really nice job with his latest book. He brings together a lot of the most interesting cognitive science research in the decade, and presents a really grounded view of human morality that makes a lot of sense. If you are interested in ethics, and particularly, are interested in views that hold up with a 21st century understanding of our minds, I would highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read all of Marks books, and believe he is a genuis, and National treasure. He is way ahead of mainstream thinking.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven Ravett Brown on December 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mark you shouldn't be attempting sociology. You did great with Kant.
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