Internalism and the Evidence from Psychopathy and Acquired Sociopaths

Jeanette Kennett, Cordelia Fine

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter

    Abstract

    Psychopathy is often conflated with so-called acquired sociopathy, which is due to damage to the ventromedial frontal lobe, but these syndromes differ significantly in some respects that are important to moral judgment. We discuss these differences and argue that psychopaths do not make moral judgments except in an 'inverted commas' sense, but at least some acquired sociopaths are able to make third-person hypothetical moral judgments. Where acquired sociopaths characteristically fail is in applying those abstract moral judgments to their own situations in the first person. Thus cases of acquired sociopathy do not refute moral internalism'which we take to be the philosophical thesis that other things being equal, any fully rational person who makes a moral judgment is motivated to act accordingly.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMoral Psychology Volume 3
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Neuroscience of Morality: Emotion, Disease, and Development
    Place of PublicationCambridge Mass.
    PublisherMIT Press
    Pages173-190
    Number of pages18
    Volume3
    Edition1 (Illustrated) / 4
    ISBN (Print)9780262693554
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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  • Cite this

    Kennett, J., & Fine, C. (2008). Internalism and the Evidence from Psychopathy and Acquired Sociopaths. In Moral Psychology Volume 3: The Neuroscience of Morality: Emotion, Disease, and Development (1 (Illustrated) / 4 ed., Vol. 3, pp. 173-190). MIT Press.