As Moral Foundation Theory is giving us a framework for understanding conflicting moral values, neuroethics is providing insights into how moral values emerge. (See this). One of the more interesting aspects is that the age old argument between deontologists and utilitarians may have been totally beside the point – bad news for Philosophy Departments everywhere! Evidence is gathering to show that our biology gives us both deontological and utilitarian views. Our brains process some things in the context of moral certainty and other things as trade offs. Exactly how different values end up in which mental processing system is TBD, but knowing that our brains work this way lends credence to Moral Foundation Theory.
Understanding moral foundation theory should give one a more tolerant stance toward the other person’s view, but knowing that a particular moral stance is deontological hints that no meaningful dialogue is possible.
- How Does the Brain Secrete Morality? – Reason.com (reason.com)