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Scientific Progress and Moral Progress. Sentimentalism, Objectivity and Science

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Ethics; Science; Moral Sentiments; Objectivity; Naturalism.

The relation between facts and values is a controversial and highly debated topic in metaethics. Such debates are mostly focused either on the plausibility of some kind of metaphysical identity between facts and values or on the possibility of a logical deduction of the latter from the former. Nonetheless other kinds of relation between facts and values are conceivable. Moving from a sentimentalist account of ethics, arguments will be presented in favor of the idea that descriptions of reality are deeply linked with the «normative » sphere (broadly conceived). Moral sentiments are profoundly shaped by descriptions of the world. More precisely, ordinary experience testifies that moral reflexivity aims at being «tuned» with the factual framework to gain precision and objectivity of moral responses. According to this view about the role of facts in moral life, scientific understanding of the world should have a central role in building the factual framework of moral experience. Although the factual framework ought to be conceived in a pluralistic way (that is built upon different sources of knowledge), science has a privileged role in it. Progress in the scientific understanding of the world can lead to moral progress both in personal life and in social institutions.

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