The science of morality and its normative implications

Tommaso Bruni, Matteo Mameli, Regina A. Rini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuromoral theorists are those who claim that a scientific understanding of moral judgment through the methods of psychology, neuroscience and related disciplines can have normative implications and can be used to improve the human ability to make moral judgments. We consider three neuromoral theories: one suggested by Gazzaniga, one put forward by Gigerenzer, and one developed by Greene. By contrasting these theories we reveal some of the fundamental issues that neuromoral theories in general have to address. One important issue concerns whether the normative claims that neuromoral theorists would like to make are to be understood in moral terms or in non-moral terms. We argue that, on either a moral or a non-moral interpretation of these claims, neuromoral theories face serious problems. Therefore, neither the moral nor the non-moral reading of the normative claims makes them philosophically viable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Ethics
  • Morality
  • Neuroscience
  • Normativity
  • Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy


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