Moral Decision-Making: Interpreters of Darwin and Thomas Aquinas
By: Stephen J. Pope (Boston College)
Chapter for Understanding Moral Sentiments from a Darwinian Perspective, ed. Hilary Putnam, Susan Neiman, and Jeffrey Schloss (Harvard University Press, forthcoming)
Darwin suggested that we are not fundamentally “rational creatures” who ordinarily make moral decisions not by means of conscientious moral deliberation, but rather on the basis of emotionally-based intuitive assessment. Contemporary heirs of Darwin follow this line of general trajectory. This paper will trace two recent scientifically-based approaches to moral decision-making and then examine their significance for ethics as interpreted by the theological tradition begun by Thomas Aquinas.