Sakin Hanoğlu, Derya
The aim of this thesis is to investigate whether morality is uniquely human, and to argue that emotions are the basis of morality in the sense that moral behavior is produced by emotions. In order to support my suggestion, I first intend to investigate the nature and function of emotions. Furthermore, I adopt an evolutionary perspective suggesting that our biology pushed us toward caring about certain things surrounding us. In accordance with this assertion, I endeavor to examine whether moral judgments and moral beliefs can be illustrated in a non-cognitivist way from the perspectives of both naturalist philosophers and evolutionary scientists. Accordingly, I defend the view that moral judgment is a non-propositional, psychological attitude. From a contemporary perspective, we might argue that Hume’s interpretation of moral judgment adopts a non-cognitivist and non-propositional attitude. Moreover, moral judgment does not express a proposition that describes facts and is truth evaluable; rather, it expresses feelings. In this sense, moral judgment is a psychological inclination to feeling a specific emotion and, accordingly, the particular emotion comprises approval or disapproval in terms of moral judgment. Finally, since moral judgment is considered to be the most significant element of being a moral agent and if I can explain moral judgment in precisely the way I describe above, then it will open the room for morality among animals. In other words, my position that moral judgment is non-propositional supports the idea that we may attribute morality to non-human animals.


On the Evolutionary Origin of Morality
Sakin Hanoğlu, Derya (2022-03-01)
In this study, I will approach morality from a naturalistic perspective and defend that morality is a product of evolutionary processes shared by both human and non-human animals rather than that of human culture. My naturalistic approach is based on simpler components instead of high-level cognitive capabilities such as cognition. Rationality, judgment, and free will are indeed presented as necessary for morality in classical definitions of morality. However, I will put forward that the roots of morality c...
A philosophical analysis of the biological accounts of morality and altruism
Bilgin, Arda; Sol, Ayhan; Department of Philosophy (2020)
The main purpose of my thesis is to show that morality is not unique to humans and it does not separate humans from nature. To that end I first discuss the issue of emotions to emphasize that biological accounts are more significant than cultural ones. Then, I focus on the notion of altruism that I find central to morality. In this part, I examine different approaches to altruism and try to reveal that the emotion of empathy is the main motivation behind altruistic behavior. I touch upon the mechanisms unde...
The genealogy of the moral modules
Bolender, J (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2003-05-01)
This paper defends a cognitive theory of those emotional reactions which motivate and constrain moral judgment. On this theory, moral emotions result from mental faculties specialized for automatically producing feelings of approval or disapproval in response to mental representations of various social situations and actions. These faculties are modules in Fodor's sense, since they are informationally encapsulated, specialized, and contain innate information about social situations. The paper also tries to ...
The relation of freedom and evil in Kant’s moral philosophy
Aydın Bayram, Selma; Turan, Şeref Halil; Department of Philosophy (2006)
The purpose of this study is to examine concepts of freedom and evil, and to clarify their relation in terms of Kant’s moral philosophy. In this study, I firstly examine Kant’s understanding of freedom and the problems that this understanding leads to. I also discuss how the concept of freedom can be reconciled with the concept of evil expressed in the form of “propensity to evil”. Additionally, I attempt to show the significance of the notion of evil for Kant’s moral theory. Evil is one of the most critici...
An inquiry concerning the place of emotions in virtue ethics (a comparison between Aristotle and Kant
Yazıcı, Aslı; İnam, Ahmet; Department of Philosophy (2005)
This dissertation examines the claim that, unlike utilitarianism and deontology, virtue ethics ascribes a positive role to emotions in moral evaluation by taking them as the constituents of moral goodness and moral value. I wish to identify the limit and scope of this claim and to show what kind of emotion theory is suitable for explaining the essential features of virtue ethics. To do so, I defend some kind of cognitivism, the cognitive-affective theory of emotion, as the most suitable theory for virtue et...
Citation Formats
D. Sakin Hanoğlu, “THE ASCENT OF MORALITY, FROM NON-HUMAN TO HUMAN ANIMALS: AN EMOTION-BASED ACCOUNT,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2021.