This is the last post on Prinz I’ll put up that isn’t a more direct response to Prinz’s theory.
After David Hume and the British empiricists, William James and others, Prinz forms his theory of “constructive sentimentalism.” Yet in Hume, all knowledge is born out of experience and perception. I think this is likely the deepest point of Prinz’s theory. Beyond this, he seems to rely on the cognitive sciences (psychology and neuroscience especially) to provide empirical evidence to support his ideas.
A: Prinz may be knowingly ignoring the obvious debt the cognitive sciences owe to the hard sciences.
B: He has simply not tackled the difficulty of epistemologically grounding the cognitive sciences in the depths of the hard sciences, and thus had to confront some of the same problems that rationalist philosophers have regarding the hard sciences, mathematics, and the possibility of having knowledge beyond experience.
I think much rational (and thus much transcendental moral philosophy) was born of the attempt to explain how it is that mathematical knowledge, especially when united with close empirical observation (this is a gross oversimplification from a scientific point of view) yields the kind of knowledge that it does…
So while the I find the “Constructive Sentimental” theory deep and interesting, I’m more concerned about what it doesn’t include.
See the previous posts for a little more background: More On Jesse Prinz. A Review Of “The Emotional Construction Of Morals” At Notre Dame…Jesse Prinz Discusses “The Emotional Construction Of Morals” On Bloggingheads.