Feeling cooperation, being moral



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Francisco Díaz, Andrés de (2014) Feeling cooperation, being moral. Rationality and Society, 26 (3). pp. 355-372. ISSN 1043-4631

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Official URL: http://rss.sagepub.com/content/26/3/355


Is morality a pure rational abstraction or is it rooted in human nature? In this paper I argue for the second option, and I do so in several steps. I first vindicate the cognitive role of emotions. For this, I rely on two contemporary theories of emotions, Martha Nussbaum’s and Antonio Damasio’s, without forgetting the evolutionary approach to emotions. Then I defend a complex model of human behaviour that goes beyond rational choice models and includes, following Gintis, other-regarding orientations and altruistic motivations. Key ingredients of such a complex model are the social emotions involved in human cooperation and reciprocal altruism. Underlying social cooperation is an emotional economy which turns out to be highly informative about the moral nature of social life. I analyse this emotional economy of cooperation and, following Aristotle, I show its moral foundations. Finally, I claim that the set of moral norms and the corresponding emotional responses involved in cooperative behaviour could be reduced to a unique moral principle. Here I draw on the general moral principle – neminem laede; imo omnes, quantum potes, juva – and follow Schopenhauer in his philosophical derivation of the principle of compassion from the emotion.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Compassion, Cooperation, Morality, Social emotions
Subjects:Medical sciences > Psychology > Social psychology
Medical sciences > Psychology > Emotions and Aggresiveness
Medical sciences > Psychology > Emotional intelligence
ID Code:30167
Deposited On:19 May 2015 07:47
Last Modified:19 May 2015 07:47

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