Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The foundation of the moral life?

Rod Dreher: Does moral action require rational thought?

Mr. Dreher draws upon contemporary scientific findings:

Neuroscientists have found that our brains appear to be hard-wired for empathy. Which suggests that feeling, not cognition, is the basis for moral action. That's not to downplay the role cognition plays in moral behavior, but only to say the moral instinct appears to be pre-cognitive.


It looks like Mencius was right? Or certain thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment? Empathy may be a natural response to the suffering of others, but is it enough to guarantee right action? And is empathy a purely a response to sense perception? Or does it arise from [rational] judgment as well?

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