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Moral Psychology: An Introduction

Moral Psychology: An Introduction

Mark Alfano

ISBN: 978-0-745-67224-3

Mar 2016, Polity

216 pages

In Stock



Moral psychology is the systematic inquiry into how morality works, when it does work, and breaks down when it doesn't work.

In this comprehensive new textbook, Mark Alfano outlines the five central concepts in the study of moral psychology: agency, patiency, sociality, temporality, and reflexivity. Subsequent chapters each assess a key area of research, which Alfano relates both to the five central concepts and to empirical findings. He then draws out the philosophical implications of those findings before suggesting future directions for research.

One of Alfano's guiding themes is that moral philosophy without psychological content is empty, whereas psychological investigation without philosophical insight is blind. He advocates and demonstrates a holistic vision that pictures moral psychology as a project of collaborative inquiry into the descriptive and normative aspects of the human condition.

Featuring a glossary of technical terms, further reading sections and chapter-by-chapter study questions, this rich, systematic, and accessible introduction to moral psychology will be suitable for both undergraduates and researchers in philosophy, psychology and related fields.

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1. Preferences

2. Responsibility

3. Emotion

4. Character

5. Disagreement





"Moral Psychology is a first-rate contribution to philosophy and a pedagogical tour de force, a fantastic gift to scholars working in ethics and moral psychology and to our students. Alfano is wickedly smart, in complete control of all the philosophical and empirical literature in moral psychology, and writes in crystal-clear, inviting prose. The study questions are amazing Ð challenges to think hard, often personally, about implicit bias, one’s own and one’s loved ones’ trustworthiness, emotions, character, relativism, and the significance of morality to a good life. Simply outstanding."
Owen Flanagan, Duke University

"Accessibly written, though far from being a mere survey, this book is at once a concise and Ð in the best sense Ð idiosyncratic introduction to some recent findings in empirical moral psychology and an argued account of the relationship between those findings and moral philosophy."
Edward Harcourt, University of Oxford

"There is much to like about this book, and I highly recommend it. It is particularly suitable as a textbook for courses on moral psychology (entry level or advanced), but even researchers working in the field will find many interesting thoughts and stimulating insights."
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice