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  1. Hit by the Virtual Trolley: When is Experimental Ethics Unethical?Jon Rueda - 2022 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):7-27.
    The trolley problem is one of the liveliest research frameworks in experimental ethics. In the last decade, social neuroscience and experimental moral psychology have gone beyond the studies with mere text-based hypothetical moral dilemmas. In this article, I present the rationale behind testing the actual behaviour in more realistic scenarios through Virtual Reality and summarize the body of evidence raised by the experiments with virtual trolley scenarios. Then, I approach the argument of Ramirez and LaBarge (2020), who claim that the (...)
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  2. Reactance, Morality, and Disgust: The Relationship Between Affective Dispositions and Compliance with Official Health Recommendations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.Rodrigo Díaz & Florian Cova - 2021 - Cognition and Emotion (1).
    Emergency situations require individuals to make important changes in their behavior. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, official recommendations to avoid the spread of the virus include costly behaviors such as self-quarantining or drastically diminishing social contacts. Compliance (or lack thereof) with these recommendations is a controversial and divisive topic, and lay hypotheses abound regarding what underlies this divide. This paper investigates which cognitive, moral, and emotional traits separate people who comply with official recommendations from those who don't. In (...)
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  3. Feeling the Right Way: Normative Influences on People's Use of Emotion Concepts.Rodrigo Díaz & Kevin Reuter - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (3):451-470.
    It is generally assumed that emotion concepts are purely descriptive. However, recent investigations suggest that the concept of happiness includes information about the morality of the agent's life. In this study, we argue that normative influences on emotion concepts are not restricted to happiness and are not about moral norms. In a series of studies, we show that emotion attribution is influenced by whether the agent's psychological and bodily states fit the situation in which they are experienced. People consider that (...)
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  4. Experimental Philosophical Bioethics and Normative Inference.Brian D. Earp, Jonathan Lewis, Vilius Dranseika & Ivar R. Hannikainen - 2021 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 42 (3-4):91-111.
    This paper explores an emerging sub-field of both empirical bioethics and experimental philosophy, which has been called “experimental philosophical bioethics” (bioxphi). As an empirical discipline, bioxphi adopts the methods of experimental moral psychology and cognitive science; it does so to make sense of the eliciting factors and underlying cognitive processes that shape people’s moral judgments, particularly about real-world matters of bioethical concern. Yet, as a normative discipline situated within the broader field of bioethics, it also aims to contribute to substantive (...)
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  5. Trolleys, Triage and Covid-19: The Role of Psychological Realism in Sacrificial Dilemmas.Markus Kneer & Ivar R. Hannikainen - 2021 - Cognition and Emotion 8.
    At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, frontline medical professionals at intensive care units around the world faced gruesome decisions about how to ration life-saving medical resources. These events provided a unique lens through which to understand how the public reasons about real-world dilemmas involving trade-offs between human lives. In three studies (total N = 2298), we examined people’s moral attitudes toward triage of acute coronavirus patients, and found elevated support for utilitarian triage policies. These utilitarian tendencies did not stem (...)
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  6. Perceiving Utilitarian Gradients: Heart Rate Variability and Self-Regulatory Effort in the Moral Dilemma Task.Alejandro Rosas, Juan Pablo Bermúdez, Jorge Martínez Cotrina, David Aguilar-Pardo, Juan Carlos Caicedo Mera & Diego Mauricio Aponte - 2021 - Social Neuroscience 16 (4):391–405.
    It is not yet clear which response behavior requires self-regulatory effort in the moral dilemma task. Previous research has proposed that utilitarian responses require cognitive control, but subsequent studies have found inconsistencies with the empirical predictions of that hypothesis. In this paper we treat participants’ sensitivity to utilitarian gradients as a measure of performance. We confronted participants (N = 82) with a set of five dilemmas evoking a gradient of mean utilitarian responses in a 4-point scale and collected data on (...)
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  7. From X-Phi to Bioxphi: Lessons in Conceptual Analysis 2.0.Jonathan Lewis - 2020 - AJOB Empirical Bioethics 11 (1):34-36.
    Recent developments in experimental philosophy (‘x-phi’) suggest that there is a new way in which the empirical and normative dimensions of bioethics can be brought into successful dialogue with one another. It revolves around conceptual analysis – though not the kind of conceptual analysis one might perform in an armchair. Following Édouard Machery, this is Conceptual Analysis Rebooted. In short, morally-pertinent medical concepts like ‘treatment’, ‘euthanasia’ and ‘sanctity of life’ can each have several meanings that underwrite inferences with different moral (...)
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  8. Experimental Philosophy of Medicine and the Concepts of Health and Disease.Walter Veit - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics:1-18.
    If one had to identify the biggest change within the philosophical tradition in the twenty-first century, it would certainly be the rapid rise of experimental philosophy to address differences in intuitions about concepts. It is, therefore, surprising that the philosophy of medicine has so far not drawn on the tools of experimental philosophy in the context of a particular conceptual debate that has overshadowed all others in the field: the long-standing dispute between so-called naturalists and normativists about the concepts of (...)
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  9. Addiction, Identity, Morality.Brian D. Earp, Joshua August Skorburg, Jim A. C. Everett & Julian Savulescu - 2019 - AJOB Empirical Bioethics 10 (2):136-153.
    Background: Recent literature on addiction and judgments about the characteristics of agents has focused on the implications of adopting a ‘brain disease’ versus ‘moral weakness’ model of addiction. Typically, such judgments have to do with what capacities an agent has (e.g., the ability to abstain from substance use). Much less work, however, has been conducted on the relationship between addiction and judgments about an agent’s identity, including whether or to what extent an individual is seen as the same person after (...)
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  10. Using Experience Sampling to Examine Links Between Compassion, Eudaimonia, and Prosocial Behavior.Jason D. Runyan, Brian N. Fry, Timothy A. Steenbergh, Nathan L. Arbuckle, Kristen Dunbar & Erin E. Devers - 2019 - Journal of Personality 87 (3):690-701.
    Objective: Compassion has been associated with eudaimonia and prosocial behavior, and has been regarded as a virtue, both historically and cross-culturally. However, the psychological study of compassion has been limited to laboratory settings and/or standard survey assessments. Here, we use an experience sampling method (ESM) to compare naturalistic assessments of compassion with standard assessments, and to examine compassion, its variability, and associations with eudaimonia and prosocial behavior. -/- Methods: Participants took a survey which included standard assessments of compassion and eudaimonia. (...)
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  11. Judgments of Moral Responsibility in Tissue Donation Cases.John Beverley & James Beebe - 2018 - Bioethics 32 (2):83-93.
    If a person requires an organ or tissue donation to survive, many philosophers argue that whatever moral responsibility a biological relative may have to donate to the person in need will be grounded at least partially, if not entirely, in biological relations the potential donor bears to the recipient. We contend that such views ignore the role that a potential donor's unique ability to help the person in need plays in underwriting such judgments. If, for example, a sperm donor is (...)
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  12. Beyond Sacrificial Harm: A Two-Dimensional Model of Utilitarian Psychology.Guy Kahane, Jim A. C. Everett, Brian D. Earp, Lucius Caviola, Nadira S. Faber, Molly J. Crockett & Julian Savulescu - 2018 - Psychological Review 125 (2):131-164.
    Recent research has relied on trolley-type sacrificial moral dilemmas to study utilitarian versus nonutili- tarian modes of moral decision-making. This research has generated important insights into people’s attitudes toward instrumental harm—that is, the sacrifice of an individual to save a greater number. But this approach also has serious limitations. Most notably, it ignores the positive, altruistic core of utilitarianism, which is characterized by impartial concern for the well-being of everyone, whether near or far. Here, we develop, refine, and validate a (...)
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  13. Emotional Reactions to Human Reproductive Cloning.Joshua May - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (1):26-30.
    [Selected as EDITOR'S CHOICE] Background: Extant surveys of people’s attitudes toward human reproductive cloning focus on moral judgments alone, not emotional reactions or sentiments. This is especially important given that some (esp. Leon Kass) have argued against such cloning on the grounds that it engenders widespread negative emotions, like disgust, that provide a moral guide. Objective: To provide some data on emotional reactions to human cloning, with a focus on repugnance, given its prominence in the literature. Methods: This brief mixed-method (...)
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  14. Personal Identity, Direction of Change, and Neuroethics.Kevin Tobia - 2016 - Neuroethics 9 (1):37-43.
    The personal identity relation is of great interest to philosophers, who often consider fictional scenarios to test what features seem to make persons persist through time. But often real examples of neuroscientific interest also provide important tests of personal identity. One such example is the case of Phineas Gage – or at least the story often told about Phineas Gage. Many cite Gage’s story as example of severed personal identity; Phineas underwent such a tremendous change that Gage “survived as a (...)
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  15. Doing, Allowing, and Enabling Harm: An Empirical Investigation.Christian Barry, Matthew Lindauer & Gerhard Øverland - 2014 - In Joshua Knobe, Tania Lombrozo & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 1. Oxford University Press.
    Traditionally, moral philosophers have distinguished between doing and allowing harm, and have normally proceeded as if this bipartite distinction can exhaustively characterize all cases of human conduct involving harm. By contrast, cognitive scientists and psychologists studying causal judgment have investigated the concept ‘enable’ as distinct from the concept ‘cause’ and other causal terms. Empirical work on ‘enable’ and its employment has generally not focused on cases where human agents enable harm. In this paper, we present new empirical evidence to support (...)
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  16. The Moral Status of an Action Influences its Perceived Intentional Status in Adolescents with Psychopathic Traits.Elise Cardinale, Elizabeth Finger, Julia Schechter, Ilana Jurkowitz, R. J. R. Blair & Abigail Marsh - 2014 - In Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy: Volume 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 131-151.
    Moral judgments about an action are influenced by the action’s intentionality. The reverse is also true: judgments of intentionality can be influenced by an action’s moral valence. For example, respondents judge a harmful side-effect of an intended outcome to be more intentional than a helpful side-effect. Debate continues regarding the mechanisms underlying this “side-effect effect” and the conditions under which it will persist. The research behind this chapter tested whether the side-effect effect is intact in adolescents with psychopathic traits, who (...)
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  17. Public Attitudes Toward Cognitive Enhancement.Nicholas S. Fitz, Roland Nadler, Praveena Manogaran, Eugene W. J. Chong & Peter B. Reiner - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (2):173-188.
    Vigorous debate over the moral propriety of cognitive enhancement exists, but the views of the public have been largely absent from the discussion. To address this gap in our knowledge, four experiments were carried out with contrastive vignettes in order to obtain quantitative data on public attitudes towards cognitive enhancement. The data collected suggest that the public is sensitive to and capable of understanding the four cardinal concerns identified by neuroethicists, and tend to cautiously accept cognitive enhancement even as they (...)
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  18. Experimental Philosophy, Clinical Intentions, and Evaluative Judgment.Lynn A. Jansen, Jessica S. Fogel & Mark Brubaker - 2013 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 22 (2):126-135.
    Recent empirical work on the concept of intentionality suggests that people’s assessments of whether an action is intentional are subject to uncertainty. Some researchers have gone so far as to claim that different people employ different concepts of intentional action. These possibilities have motivated a good deal of work in the relatively new field of experimental philosophy. The findings from this empirical research may prove to be relevant to medical ethics. In this article, we address this issue head on. We (...)
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  19. Judgments About Moral Responsibility and Determinism in Patients with Behavioural Variant of Frontotemporal Dementia: Still Compatibilists.Florian Cova, Maxime Bertoux, Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde & Bruno Dubois - 2012 - Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):851-864.
    Do laypeople think that moral responsibility is compatible with determinism? Recently, philosophers and psychologists trying to answer this question have found contradictory results: while some experiments reveal people to have compatibilist intuitions, others suggest that people could in fact be incompatibilist. To account for this contradictory answers, Nichols and Knobe (2007) have advanced a ‘performance error model’ according to which people are genuine incompatibilist that are sometimes biased to give compatibilist answers by emotional reactions. To test for this hypothesis, we (...)
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  20. Practical Implications of Empirically Studying Moral Decision-Making.Nora Heinzelmann, Giuseppe Ugazio & Philippe Tobler - 2012 - Frontiers in Neuroscience 6:94.
    This paper considers the practical question of why people do not behave in the way they ought to behave. This question is a practical one, reaching both into the normative and descriptive domains of morality. That is, it concerns moral norms as well as empirical facts. We argue that two main problems usually keep us form acting and judging in a morally decent way: firstly, we make mistakes in moral reasoning. Secondly, even when we know how to act and judge, (...)
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  21. Utilitarian Moral Judgment in Psychopathy.Michael Koenigs, Michael Kruepke, Joshua Zeier & Joseph P. Newman - 2011 - Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience:1-7.
    Psychopathic behavior is characteristically amoral, but to date research studies have largely failed to identify any systematic differences in moral judgment capability between psychopaths and non-psychopaths. In this study, we investigate whether significant differences in moral judgment emerge when taking into account the phenotypic heterogeneity of the disorder through a well-validated distinction between psychopathic subtypes. Three groups of incarcerated participants [low-anxious psychopaths (n 1⁄4 12), high-anxious psychopaths (n 1⁄4 12) and non-psychopaths (n 1⁄4 24)] completed a moral judgment test involving (...)
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