Regular article

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 115-131

First online:

Prolegomena to a future phenomenology of morals

  • Terry HorganAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Arizona Email author 
  • , Mark TimmonsAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Arizona Email author 

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Moral phenomenology is (roughly) the study of those features of occurrent mental states with moral significance which are accessible through direct introspection, whether or not such states possess phenomenal character – a what-it-is-likeness. In this paper, as the title indicates, we introduce and make prefatory remarks about moral phenomenology and its significance for ethics. After providing a brief taxonomy of types of moral experience, we proceed to consider questions about the commonality within and distinctiveness of such experiences, with an eye on some of the main philosophical issues in ethics and how moral phenomenology might be brought to bear on them. In discussing such matters, we consider some of the doubts about moral phenomenology and its value to ethics that are brought up by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Michael Gill in their contributions to this issue.


Moral experience Moral judgment Moral objectivity Moral phenomenology