Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgement

Shaun Nichols

Research output: Book/ReportBook

460 Scopus citations


This volume develops a new account of the nature of moral judgment. Evidence from developmental psychology and psychopathologies suggests that emotions play a crucial role in normal moral judgment. This indicates that philosophical accounts of moral judgment that eschew the emotions are mistaken. However, the volume also argues that prevailing philosophical accounts that embrace a role for the emotions are also mistaken. The empirical work points to a quite different account of moral judgment than philosophers have considered, an account in which normative rules and emotions make independent contributions to moral judgment. Further, the volume argues that the emotions play an important role in the normative rules that get fixed in the culture. The history of norms indicates that norms that resonate with our emotions are more likely to survive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Electronic)9780199835041
ISBN (Print)0195169344, 9780195169348
StatePublished - Jan 20 2005


  • Cultural evolution
  • Metaethics
  • Moral judgment
  • Moral objectivism
  • Moral psychology
  • Naturalistic philosophy
  • Psychopathologies
  • Sentimentalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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