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Moral intuition: its neural substrates and normative significance

Woodward, James and Allman, John (2007) Moral intuition: its neural substrates and normative significance. Journal of Physiology -Paris, 101 (4-6). pp. 179-202. ISSN 0928-4257.

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Philosophers use the phrase ‘‘moral intuition” to describe the appearance in consciousness of moral judgments or assessments without any awareness of having gone through a conscious reasoning process that produces this assessment. This paper investigates the neural substrates of moral intuition. We propose that moral intuitions are part of a larger set of social intuitions that guide us through complex, highly uncertain and rapidly changing social interactions. Such intuitions are shaped by learning. The neural substrates for moral intuition include fronto-insular, cingulate, and orbito-frontal cortices and associated subcortical structure such as the septum, basil ganglia and amygdala. Understanding the role of these structures undercuts many philosophical doctrines concerning the status of moral intuitions, but vindicates the claim that they can sometimes play a legitimate role in moral decision-ma

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Additional Information:Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved. Available online 8 January 2008. We thank Ralph Adolphs and Steve Quartz for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of this paper, and Zygourakis and Adolphs for providing the data from the developmental orbito-frontal patient described in Section 7. We also thank Sinnott-Armstrong for helpful correspondence regarding his own views
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James S. McDonnell FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:von Economo neurons; insula; moral intuition;
Issue or Number:4-6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:WOOjop07
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Official Citation:Woodward, James and John Allman. Moral intuition: its neural substrates and normative significance. Journal of Physiology-Paris 101: 179 DOI 10.1016/j.jphysparis.2007.12.003
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:13453
Deposited By: Judith J Nollar
Deposited On:22 May 2009 18:32
Last Modified:09 Jun 2020 20:19

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