What role should emotions play in moral decision making?I am having a little trouble determining what role, if any, emotions should play in moral decision making.

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By definition, "moral decision making" involves incorporating one's morals into the process of making the decision, and that means taking values, but not emotions, into account.

Morals are "a person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do."  In order to establish personal patterns of behaviors or beliefs, an individual determines what values are held to, which will include evaluating the value aspects of the situation in question. A person takes a position regarding the death penalty, for example, based on many considerations, and values will be included in the mix.

Another way of describing moral decision making would be to refer to the making of ethical decisions. Ethics are guidelines for what is resonably right behavior and for what is reasonably virtuous behavior. Since whole societies can be ethically corrupt, this may change from society to society and from situation to situation and may be impacted emotions and other influences. Yet ethics and moral decisions are meant to rise above all this.