Let's say that a virus spread throughout the world and damaged the areas of the brain that are responsible for emotions. The entire population was affected and could no longer experience any emotional reactions, although their reason and intellectual ability was unimpaired.
Would morality change if we no longer have any emotional reaction to cheaters, thiefs, inequity, or tragedy?
Maybe it's difficult to answer such a hypothetical, but any opinions would be appreciated.
On views of morality that I find plausible, your virus wouldn't stop us judging that certain things (cheating, inequity . . .) are wrong, even though it would probably mean that we were not longer motivated to avoid them. (But on other 'non-cognitivist' views, which tie moral judgements to our motivations, this would mean that we would cease even to judge that those things are wrong.) A loss of emotional reactions is likely to undermine more than just moral motivation. In his book 'Descartes' Error' Anthony Damasio argues that without emotional reactions there would be no effective decision-making of any kind. Damasio describes a patient with severe damage to his prefrontal lobes. This patient could see the pros and cons of alternative courses of action (such as Tuesday versus Wednesday for his next appointment) but would discuss the options interminably without ever reaching a decision. This suggests that emotional reactions to envisaged situations are an essential part of the mechanism...