Moral sentimentalism is the view that human sentiments—feelings, emotions, attitudes, or other affective states—are fundamental to an account of moral evaluation, awareness, and motivation. According to sentimentalists, objects of moral evaluation—actions, motives, and character—are morally right or wrong (or virtuous or vicious) depending on whether we feel approval or disapproval toward them. (A weak form of sentimentalism maintains that the moral status of actions, motives, and character is determined in part by our sentiments but that other considerations are also relevant to fixing their moral status.) Many sentimentalists maintain that the moral evaluation of motives or character is prior to the moral evaluation of actions, but not all sentimentalists agree that this is the case. Sentimentalists do agree that our awareness of what morality ...

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