- 医学哲学 医学倫理 (ISSN:02896427)
- vol.25, pp.71-80, 2007-10-18 (Released:2018-02-01)
In moral discourse, people often appeal to emotion as opposed to reason. This is particularly true when they discuss the moral status of the use of new biomedical technology. Sometimes we may be unable to articulate an argument against organ transplantation from a brain-dead person, host surrogacy, human embryonic stem cell research, etc; we may then only say that "these acts are disgusting." What exactly do we mean when we say that someone's act is "disgusting"? In the first half of this paper, I shall distinguish three cases: (1) a person who seeks to reach a "reflective equilibrium;" (2) a communitarianist; and (3) a moral realist, each of whom may appeal to emotions in his or her own way. The purpose of the latter half of the paper is to examine and refute the manner in which moral realists appeal to emotion. Consider, for example, incest, cannibalism, rape and murder. It may seem that these acts are objectively evil, and that they provoke a negative emotional reaction. These facts might lead one to believe a realistic idea that human beings are biologically equipped with a special kind of emotion whose function is to detect objectively existing moral evilness. In order to show a fallacy involved in this inference, I shall point to a fact that has been reported in the literature of empirical psychology.