Moral Motivation: Evidence and Relevance

Project: Research

Layman's description

What is the connection between morality and motivation? A central issue in moral philosophy is how the connection between our moral judgments and motivation to perform various actions should be understood. This issue is of outermost importance for the objectivity of morality, wheter there are any moral properties, and moral relativism.

The relation between moral judgments and moral motivation is a central issue in ethical theory, having implications for the nature of moral emotions and moral judgments, the meaning of normative terms and the possibility of objective truth and knowledge in morality.

According to one account of this relation, known as “motivational moral judgment internalism”, or just “internalism”, making a moral judgment implies being at least somewhat motivated to act accordingly under normal circumstances. Internalism seems to capture our sense that morality is, above all, a matter of practical concern: When we come to think that some act is wrong, we are against it. On the other hand, internalism seems to undermine the view that moral matters are objective. Objective facts seem to be facts that can in principle be grasped independently of ones particular interests and point view, but internalism seems to suggest that what we take to be morally right or wrong depends exactly on what our interests are, interests that vary from one person to another.

MMER aims at (i) charting possible philosophical implications of various forms of internalism, (ii) detailing possible evidence for and against these forms, and (iii) conduct studies assessing such implications and evidence. The methods used combine traditional philosophical inquiry with quantified empirical studies.
Effective start/end date2010/01/012012/12/31