Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
First published Wed Jan 29, 2014
For moral sentimentalists, our emotions and desires play a leading role in the anatomy of morality. Some believe moral thoughts are fundamentally sentimental, others that moral facts make essential reference to our sentimental responses, or that emotions are the primary source of moral knowledge. Some believe all these things. The two main attractions of sentimentalism are making sense of the practical aspects of morality, on the one hand, and finding a place for morality within a naturalistic worldview, on the other. The corresponding challenges are accounting for the apparent objectivity and normativity of morality. Recent psychological theories emphasizing the centrality of emotion in moral thinking have prompted renewed interest in sentimentalist ethics.
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Editor's note: Reading a great deal of philosophy recently, it seems like many psychologists would embrace this approach to morality (and perhaps free will).
So, ethics educators may want to add Moral Sentimentalism to the other, regularly taught philosophical foundations, including deontological, utilitarian, and virtue ethics.