Compare And Contrast Empathy And Moral Agency By Kennett

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II. Kennett, “Autism, Empathy and Moral Agency”
Kennett claims that psychopaths are amoral most likely due to their lack of empathy which is also an impairment in individuals with autism. However, it does not seem to be the case that autistic individuals are also amoral. Kennett claims that “an examination of moral thinking in high-functioning autistic people supports a Kantian rather than Humean account of moral agency.” Kennett first looks at how empathy is characterized in psychological and philosophical literature and then turns to the question of how crucial it is to moral understanding and agency.
Psychopathic behavior is described as “impulsivity and irresponsibility; they [psychopaths] are habitual liars, are indifferent to the rights of others, and
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However, Kant believes this feeling arises from reason. The difference between autistic individuals and psychopaths is in the psychopaths’ disregard for others. While this may seem to be problem of affective capacity, Kennett argues that the inability to consider others arises from the inability to find reasons to do so. Autistic individuals are capable of recognizing differences in behavior of themselves and others, making sense of them, and acting accordingly to the situation. Kennett argues that the Kantian account offers full moral agency to autistic individuals in this way as conscientious agents and claims that “reverence for reason is the core moral motive, the motive of duty.” Psychopaths do not engage with the environment in this way. They do not feel the need or desire to, so they do not develop a deep sense of self. Their undeveloped sense of self, Kennett argues, is the downfall of their ability to be moral agents. From this, she concludes that a Kantian account of moral agency is right and that only conscientious individuals guided and motivated by reason are capable of being moral

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