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Experimental Philosophy and the Definition of Morality (talk recording available)

Dr. Stephen Stich

Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Rutgers University, Department of Philosophy and the Center for Cognitive Science

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All cultures have lots of normative rules. Some of these rules regulate the use of force, others regulate sexual behavior, still others regulate which foods can be eaten or how to bury the dead. Which of these rules are moral rules? Though philosophers have debated this question for centuries, no consensus has been reached. More recently, the debate has been joined by cognitive scientists interested in morality and by the new wave of empirically engaged "experimental philosophers". In this talk I'll review some of this work and suggest that the distinction between moral norms and other sorts of norms may be very culturally local. Indeed, it may be WEIRD. 


  • Daniel Kelly, Stephen Stich, Kevin Haley, Serena Eng & Daniel Fessler, Harm, Affect and the Moral/Conventional Distinction, Mind & Language, Vol. 22 No. 2 April 2007, pp. 117-131.
  • Stephen Stich, Daniel M.T. Fessler & Daniel Kelly,"On the Morality of Harm: A Response to Sousa, Holbrook and Piazza," Cognition, 113, 2009. Pp. 93-97.

To view a recording of this talk click here (You will need a Rutgers NetID and password) - NOTE: Talk recording is split into 2 parts

Dr. Stephen Stich