Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The end of moral philosophy

Again I am amazed at how well David Brooks keeps up with contemporary psychology and brain science, picking up on the recent upsurge in research on the good stuff in human nature like our evolved affiliative emotions. Check out this Op-Ed piece.


  1. He has a point about the shift from a conceptualization of morality as deliberate more aesthetic. Still, we might not want to declare the end of moral philosophy. There still must be recognition that people do try to make sense of their behaviors with moral stories. In Moral Imagination, Mark Johnson (of Lakoff and Johnson's Metaphors We Live By finds a way to recognize this process and appreciate its importance while not legitimizing the sort of universal imperative story we have historically sought. Just a tip if you want something to read.

  2. I am disappointed, however in how little actual philosophy he covered. John Doris (Wash Uin St Louis), Jesse Prinz (UNC / CUNY) and Shaun Nichols (Utah) all have good books advancing ethical theories rooted in the results Brooks discussed.

  3. Now, if only his article was about philosophy, and if only he didn't put an awful conservative spin on everything, and if only he didn't generally corrupt every thought that passed through his brain ...