Metaethics and Mental Time Travel: a Reply to Gerrans and Kennett
In “Neurosentimentalism and Moral Agency” (Mind 2010), Philip Gerrans and Jeanette Kennett argue that prominent versions of metaethical sentimentalism and moral realism ignore the importance, for moral agency and moral judgment, of the capacity to experientially project oneself into the past and possible futures – to engage in ‘mental time travel’ (MTT). They contend that such views are committed to taking subjects with impaired capacities for MTT to be moral judgers, and thus confront a dilemma: either allow that these subjects are moral agents, or deny that moral agency is required for moral judgment. In reply, we argue for two main claims. First, it is implausible that moral agency is required for moral judgment, and Gerrans and Kennett give us no good reason for thinking it is. Second, at least some of the subjects in question seem able to make moral judgments, and Gerrans and Kennett give us no good reason to doubt that they can. We conclude that they have not shown a problem for any of the metaethical views in question.