Attentional Moral Perception

Journal of Moral Philosophy 19 (5):501-525 (2022)
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Moral perceptualism is the view that perceptual experience is attuned to pick up on moral features in our environment, just as it is attuned to pick up on mundane features of an environment like textures, shapes, colors, pitches, and timbres. One important family of views that incorporate moral perception are those of virtue theorists and sensibility theorists. On these views, one central ability of the virtuous agent is her sensitivity to morally relevant features of situations, where this sensitivity is often spoken of in perceptual terms. However, sensibility theorists have often not been careful to specify how to understand their claims about moral sensibilities as perceptual. In this paper, we distinguish between what we call Attentional Moral Perception and Contentful Moral Perception. We argue that sensibility theorists should endorse Attentional Moral Perception, because it has very powerful empirical evidence in its favor, and it can play all of the explanatory roles that the sensibility theorist needs in her theory of moral sensibilities.

Author Profiles

Preston Werner
Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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