The project of naturalizing ethics has multiple contributions, from cognitive and moral psychology to primatology, neuroscience or evolutionary theory. One of the strategies for naturalizing ethics has been to argue that moral norms and values can be explained away if we focus on their causal history, if it is possible to offer both an ultimate and proximate causal explanation for them. In this article, I will focus on the contribution of cognitive and moral psychology as a way of offering a proximate causal explanation for moral judgments. I am mostly interested in understanding to what extent these cognitive and psychological questions have some bearing in the fields of ethics and meta-ethics. Does this research programme put at stake the contention that ethics is a manifestation of human rationality? Is it true that finding the cognitive underpinnings of some of our moral judgments vindicates some meta-ethical position, namely some kind of reductionist naturalism? In the end, I will argue that even if scientific disciplines such as cognitive psychology give us a naturalized picture of the moral agent, there seem to be no reasons to think that from a naturalized perspective of the agent capable of perceiving value it must follow the naturalization of value itself.
- Cognitive psychology