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Moral instinct and moral judgment

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image of Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Human beings’ moral life can be divided into two forms, one based on moral instincts and the other on moral judgments. The former is carried on without deliberation, while the latter relies upon valuations and judgments. The two can ultimately be viewed as man’s innate moral nature and acquired moral conventions. Theoretically, preference for the former will lead to naturalism and for the latter to culturalism, but this is the reality of man’s moral life. Moreover, there may be a parallel relation between the moral structure of human life and the grammatical structure of human language.


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