The Methods of Neuroethics: Is the Neuroscience of Ethics Really a New Challenge to Moral Philosophy?

Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia. 2019;10(1):1-15 DOI 10.4453/rifp.2019.0001


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia

ISSN: 2039-4667 (Print); 2239-2629 (Online)

Publisher: Mimesis Edizioni, Milano

LCC Subject Category: Philosophy. Psychology. Religion

Country of publisher: Italy

Language of fulltext: English, Italian, German

Full-text formats available: PDF



Sarah Songhorian


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Within the otherwise lively debate on neuroethics, little attention has been devoted to the peculiar methodological issues and challenges it faces. My aim is to track down its methodological specificities. Firstly, I will investigate to which traditional debates neuroethics bears similarity and to what extent it actually represents a novelty in ethical thinking. While the ethics of neuroscience is akin to bioethics, the neuroscience of ethics seems akin to moral psychology. And yet they differ as far as the level of explanation of human moral behavior and reasoning is concerned. Thus, while the neuroscience of ethics and moral psychology share a family resemblance, they cannot be reduced to one another. Secondly, I will explore three different philosophical temperaments towards the role empirical findings can and should have in normative ethics and in metaethics. Prudential reasons would recommend openness to new sources of evidence without risking either reductionism nor neglect.