Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 51–73 | Cite as

Moral phenomenology and a moral ontology of the human person

  • Joseph LaceyEmail author


Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons’ work implies four criteria that moral phenomenology must be capable of meeting if it is to be a viable field of study that can make a worthwhile contribution to moral philosophy. It must be (a) about a unifed subject matter as well as being, (b) wide, (c) independent, and (d) robust. Contrary to some scepticism about the possibility or usefulness of this field, I suggest that these criteria can be met by elucidating the very foundations of moral experience or what I call a moral ontology of the human person. I attempt to partially outline such an ontology by engaging with Robert Sokolowski's phenomenology of the human person from a moral perspective. My analysis of Sokolowski's thought leads me to five core ideas of a moral ontology of the human person: well-being, virtue, freedom, responsibility, and phronesis. Though I do not by any means boast a complete moral ontology of the human person, I go on to demonstrate how the account I have presented, or something like it, can go a long way to helping moral phenomenology meet the criteria it requires to be a viable and worthwhile pursuit.


Aristotle Categoriality Moral Ontology Moral Phenomenology Phronesis Robert Sokolowski Syntax 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenInstitute of PhilosophyLeuvenBelgium

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