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CFP: Consciousness and Moral Cognition

Special issue of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology
Guest editors: Mark Phelan & Adam Waytz
Deadline for submissions: 31 March 2012

When people regard other entities as objects of ethical concern whose interests must be taken into account in moral deliberations, does the attribution of consciousness to these entities play an essential role in the process? In recent years, philosophers and psychologists have begun to sketch limited answers to this general question. However, much progress remains to be made. Contributions to a special issue of The Review of Philosophy and Psychology on the role of consciousness attribution in moral cognition from researchers working in fields including developmental, evolutionary, perceptual, and social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and philosophy are invited.

Selected papers will investigate a broad array of questions such as:
• Are the entities we ordinarily regard as objects of moral concern all and only those entities we think capable of experiencing phenomenally conscious mental states?

• Are there asymmetries in how people attribute phenomenal states (such as joy and pain) versus intentional states (such as belief and desire), and, if so, do these correspond with asymmetries in perceived moral standing?

• Does the capacity to attribute consciousness develop concurrently with the capacity to regard other entities as objects of moral concern?

• Are the capacities for moral cognition and consciousness attribution subject to similar evolutionary explanations?

• Does the neural architecture recruited for moral cognition overlap with that recruited for consciousness attribution?

• Do higher-order cognitive processes mediate consciousness attribution or do we, in effect, directly perceive consciousness, and in what ways is the situation different for appraising moral standing?

• Is consciousness attribution interestingly impacted by egocentric biases inherent in moral cognition?

• How are objectification and dehumanization related to conscious state attribution?

• Finally, is the attribution of consciousness completely or partially irrelevant to moral judgments?

Submissions aimed at exploring these and related questions concerning the relationship between moral cognition and attributions of consciousness are welcomed.

Guest authors
The issue will include invited articles authored by:
– Kurt Gray (University of Maryland)
– Edouard Machery (University of Pittsburgh) & Justin Sytsma (East Tennessee State University)
– Anthony I. Jack (Case Western Reserve University) & Philip Robbins (University of Missouri)

Order of authorship is alphabetical.

Important dates
Submission deadline: 31 March 2012
Target publication date: 15 September 2012

How to submit
Prospective authors should register at: www.editorialmanager.com/ropp to obtain a login and select Consciousness and Moral Cognition as an article type. Manuscripts should be approximately 6,000 words. Submissions should follow the author guidelines available on the journal’s website.

For any queries, please email the guest editors:
mark.phelan (at) lawrence.edu – a-waytz (at) kellogg.northwestern.edu