Sentimentalism and moral motivation
MetadataShow full item record
Sentimentalism is the view that moral judgment has something essentially to do with response, feeling, or sentiment. On a rational version of this view, judging an action or practice to be morally wrong to do is equivalent to believing that guilt would be a fitting response. Moral judgment thus becomes the imposition of standards about how to feel. This way of looking at things affords a nonreductive account of moral thought. Moral claims are not construed as themselves sentiments are dispositions to feel, but judgments about what is fitting to feel. This provides the resources to make sense of the essential contestabilty of moral concepts as well as a explanation for why motivation tends to coincide with moral belief. The following essay is a defense of a rational sentimentalism and a demonstration of how the analysis could be used to explain why we are typically motivated to do what we believe we ought.