Neurobiology of Moral Judgement: New Epistemic Highway or Dead End?

Penavayre Marie
Brun Cédric
Boraud Thomas
Language of the article : French
DOI: 10.3406/intel.2019.1893
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Society increasingly challenges neuroscience to provide explanatory paradigms regarding foundations of moral judgements. This naturalization program of morality has led some neuroscientists to draw normative conclusions about the origin and nature of these judgments. Pioneers of this field of research developed experimental models of moral judgements based on moral dilemmas. They developed a theory stating that moral judgments result from a conflict between a "deontological" system, inherited from a distant past common to all vertebrates, and a "utilitarian" system that would have appeared with the development of the prefrontal cortex in humans. Moral judgment is therefore constantly torn between these two principles. In this article, we criticize this approach by showing its philosophical and scientific flaws. We question the ability of neuroscience to account for moral judgement on its own, and conclude that the contribution of neuroscience is significant but must be confronted with other disciplines.

Pour citer cet article :

Penavayre Marie, Brun Cédric, Boraud Thomas (2019/1). Neurobiology of Moral Judgement: New Epistemic Highway or Dead End? In Khamassi Mehdi, Chatila Raja & Mille Alain (Eds), Ethics and Cognitive Sciences, Intellectica, 70, (pp.63-82), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2019.1893.