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How can neuroscience contribute to moral philosophy, psychology and education based on Aristotelian virtue ethics?

Publication Authors: 
Hyemin Han
Publication Year: 
Publication Journal: 
International Journal of Ethics Education (online). DOI:10.1007/s40889-016-0016-9

The present essay discusses the relationship between moral philosophy, psychology and education based on virtue ethics, contemporary neuroscience, and how neuroscientific methods can contribute to studies of moral virtue and character. First, the present essay considers whether the mechanism of moral motivation and developmental model of virtue and character are well supported by neuroscientific evidence. Particularly, it examines whether the evidence provided by neuroscientific studies can support the core argument of virtue ethics, that is, motivational externalism. Second, it discusses how experimental methods of neuroscience can be applied to studies in human morality. Particularly, the present essay examines how functional and structural neuroimaging methods can contribute to the development of the fields by reviewing the findings of recent social and developmental neuroimaging experiments. Meanwhile, the present essay also considers some limitations embedded in such discussions regarding the relationship between the fields and suggests directions for future studies to address these limitations.

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