Motivational internalism and folk intuitions

Philosophical Psychology 28 (5):715-734 (2015)
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Motivational internalism postulates a necessary connection between moral judgments and motivation. In arguing for and against internalism, metaethicists traditionally appeal to intuitions about cases, but crucial cases often yield conflicting intuitions. One way to try to make progress, possibly uncovering theoretical bias and revealing whether people have conceptions of moral judgments required for noncognitivist accounts of moral disagreement, is to investigate non-philosophers' willingness to attribute moral judgments. A pioneering study by Shaun Nichols seemed to undermine internalism, as a large majority of subjects were willing to attribute moral understanding to an agent lacking moral motivation. However, our attempts to replicate this study yielded quite different results, and we identified a number of problems with Nichols' experimental paradigm. The results from a series of surveys designed to rule out these problems show that people are more willing to attribute moral understanding than mor..
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