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Moral Reasoning and Emotion

In Karen Jones, Mark Timmons & Aaron Zimmerman (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Moral Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 139-156 (forthcoming)

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  1. Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain.Antonio R. Damasio - 1994 - Putnam.
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  • A Humean Theory of Moral Intuition.Antti Kauppinen - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (3):360-381.
    According to the quasi-perceptualist account of philosophical intuitions, they are intellectual appearances that are psychologically and epistemically analogous to perceptual appearances. Moral intuitions share the key characteristics of other intuitions, but can also have a distinctive phenomenology and motivational role. This paper develops the Humean claim that the shared and distinctive features of substantive moral intuitions are best explained by their being constituted by moral emotions. This is supported by an independently plausible non-Humean, quasi-perceptualist theory of emotion, according to which (...)
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  • Psychopathy and Internalism.Victor Kumar - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):318-345.
    Do psychopaths make moral judgments but lack motivation? Or are psychopaths’ judgments are not genuinely moral? Both sides of this debate seem to assume either externalist or internalist criteria for the presence of moral judgment. However, if moral judgment is a natural kind, we can arrive at a theory-neutral criterion for moral judgment. A leading naturalistic criterion suggests that psychopaths have an impaired capacity for moral judgment; the capacity is neither fully present nor fully absent. Psychopaths are therefore not counterexamples (...)
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  • The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail.Jonathan Haidt - 2001 - Psychological Review 108 (4):814-834.
    Research on moral judgment has been dominated by rationalist models, in which moral judgment is thought to be caused by moral reasoning. The author gives 4 reasons for considering the hypothesis that moral reasoning does not cause moral judgment; rather, moral reasoning is usually a post hoc construction, generated after a judgment has been reached. The social intuitionist model is presented as an alternative to rationalist models. The model is a social model in that it deemphasizes the private reasoning done (...)
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  • Will the Real Moral Judgment Please Stand Up?Jeanette Kennett & Cordelia Fine - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (1):77-96.
    The recent, influential Social Intuitionist Model of moral judgment (Haidt, Psychological Review 108, 814–834, 2001) proposes a primary role for fast, automatic and affectively charged moral intuitions in the formation of moral judgments. Haidt’s research challenges our normative conception of ourselves as agents capable of grasping and responding to reasons. We argue that there can be no ‘real’ moral judgments in the absence of a capacity for reflective shaping and endorsement of moral judgments. However, we suggest that the empirical literature (...)
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  • Yuck!: The Nature and Moral Significance of Disgust.Daniel Kelly - 2011 - Bradford.
    People can be disgusted by the concrete and by the abstract -- by an object they find physically repellent or by an ideology or value system they find morally abhorrent. Different things will disgust different people, depending on individual sensibilities or cultural backgrounds. In _Yuck!_, Daniel Kelly investigates the character and evolution of disgust, with an emphasis on understanding the role this emotion has come to play in our social and moral lives. Disgust has recently been riding a swell of (...)
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  • Morphological Rationalism and the Psychology of Moral Judgment.Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (3):279-295.
    According to rationalism regarding the psychology of moral judgment, people’s moral judgments are generally the result of a process of reasoning that relies on moral principles or rules. By contrast, intuitionist models of moral judgment hold that people generally come to have moral judgments about particular cases on the basis of gut-level, emotion-driven intuition, and do so without reliance on reasoning and hence without reliance on moral principles. In recent years the intuitionist model has been forcefully defended by Jonathan Haidt. (...)
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  • The Empirical Identity of Moral Judgment: Table 1.Victor Kumar - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):783-804.
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  • Rules.Ron Mallon & Shaun Nichols - 2010 - In John Michael Doris (ed.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press.
    Is it wrong to torture prisoners of war for fun? Is it wrong to yank on someone’s hair with no provocation? Is it wrong to push an innocent person in front of a train in order to save five innocent people tied to the tracks? If you are like most people, you answered "yes" to each of these questions. A venerable account of human moral judgment, influential in both philosophy and psychology, holds that these judgments are underpinned by internally represented (...)
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  • How to Debunk Moral Beliefs.Victor Kumar & Joshua May - 2019 - In Jussi Suikkanen & Antti Kauppinen (eds.), Methodology and Moral Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 25-48.
    Arguments attempting to debunk moral beliefs, by showing they are unjustified, have tended to be global, targeting all moral beliefs or a large set of them. Popular debunking arguments point to various factors purportedly influencing moral beliefs, from evolutionary pressures, to automatic and emotionally-driven processes, to framing effects. We show that these sweeping arguments face a debunker’s dilemma: either the relevant factor is not a main basis for belief or it does not render the relevant beliefs unjustified. Empirical debunking arguments (...)
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  • Disruption of the Right Temporoparietal Junction with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Reduces the Role of Beliefs in Moral Judgments.Liane Young, Joan Albert Camprodon, Marc Hauser, Alvaro Pascual-Leone & Rebecca Saxe - 2010 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    When we judge an action as morally right or wrong, we rely on our capacity to infer the actor's mental states. Here, we test the hypothesis that the right temporoparietal junction, an area involved in mental state reasoning, is necessary for making moral judgments. In two experiments, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation to disrupt neural activity in the RTPJ transiently before moral judgment and during moral judgment. In both experiments, TMS to the RTPJ led participants to rely less on the (...)
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  • ‘Utilitarian’ Judgments in Sacrificial Moral Dilemmas Do Not Reflect Impartial Concern for the Greater Good.Guy Kahane, Jim A. C. Everett, Brian D. Earp, Miguel Farias & Julian Savulescu - 2015 - Cognition 134:193-209.
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  • Reflection and Reasoning in Moral Judgment.Joshua D. Greene - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (1):163-177.
    While there is much evidence for the influence of automatic emotional responses on moral judgment, the roles of reflection and reasoning remain uncertain. In Experiment 1, we induced subjects to be more reflective by completing the Cognitive Reflection Test prior to responding to moral dilemmas. This manipulation increased utilitarian responding, as individuals who reflected more on the CRT made more utilitarian judgments. A follow-up study suggested that trait reflectiveness is also associated with increased utilitarian judgment. In Experiment 2, subjects considered (...)
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  • The Neural Basis of Intuitive and Counterintuitive Moral Judgement.Guy Kahane, Katja Wiech, Nicholas Shackel, Miguel Farias, Julian Savulescu & Irene Tracey - 2011 - Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 7 (4):393-402.
    Neuroimaging studies on moral decision-making have thus far largely focused on differences between moral judgments with opposing utilitarian (well-being maximizing) and deontological (duty-based) content. However, these studies have investigated moral dilemmas involving extreme situations, and did not control for two distinct dimensions of moral judgment: whether or not it is intuitive (immediately compelling to most people) and whether it is utilitarian or deontological in content. By contrasting dilemmas where utilitarian judgments are counterintuitive with dilemmas in which they are intuitive, we (...)
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  • Moral Reasoning on the Ground.Richmond Campbell & Victor Kumar - 2012 - Ethics 122 (2):273-312.
    We present a unified empirical and philosophical account of moral consistency reasoning, a distinctive form of moral reasoning that exposes inconsistencies among moral judgments about concrete cases. Judgments opposed in belief or in emotion and motivation are inconsistent when the cases are similar in morally relevant respects. Moral consistency reasoning, we argue, regularly shapes moral thought and feeling by coordinating two systems described in dual process models of moral cognition. Our empirical explanation of moral change fills a gap in the (...)
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  • Unsentimental Ethics: Towards a Content-Specific Account of the Moral–Conventional Distinction.Edward B. Royzman, Robert F. Leeman & Jonathan Baron - 2009 - Cognition 112 (1):159-174.
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  • Learning From Moral Inconsistency.Richmond Campbell - 2017 - Cognition 167:46-57.
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  • Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them.Joshua Greene - 2013 - Penguin Press.
    Our brains were designed for tribal life, for getting along with a select group of others and for fighting off everyone else. But modern times have forced the world’s tribes into a shared space, resulting in epic clashes of values along with unprecedented opportunities. As the world shrinks, the moral lines that divide us become more salient and more puzzling. We fight over everything from tax codes to gay marriage to global warming, and we wonder where, if at all, we (...)
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  • Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment.Shaun Nichols - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
    Sentimental Rules is an ambitious and highly interdisciplinary work, which proposes and defends a new theory about the nature and evolution of moral judgment. In it, philosopher Shaun Nichols develops the theory that emotions play a critical role in both the psychological and the cultural underpinnings of basic moral judgment. Nichols argues that our norms prohibiting the harming of others are fundamentally associated with our emotional responses to those harms, and that such 'sentimental rules' enjoy an advantage in cultural evolution, (...)
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  • Moral Brains: The Neuroscience of Morality.S. Matthew Liao (ed.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press USA.
    In the last fifteen years, there has been significant interest in studying the brain structures involved in moral judgments using novel techniques from neuroscience such as functional magnetic resonance imaging. Many people, including a number of philosophers, believe that results from neuroscience have the potential to settle seemingly intractable debates concerning the nature, practice, and reliability of moral judgments. This has led to a flurry of scientific and philosophical activities, resulting in the rapid growth of the new field of moral (...)
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  • Elements of Moral Cognition: Rawls' Linguistic Analogy and the Cognitive Science of Moral and Legal Judgment.John Mikhail - 2011 - Cambridge University Press.
    Is the science of moral cognition usefully modelled on aspects of Universal Grammar? Are human beings born with an innate 'moral grammar' that causes them to analyse human action in terms of its moral structure, with just as little awareness as they analyse human speech in terms of its grammatical structure? Questions like these have been at the forefront of moral psychology ever since John Mikhail revived them in his influential work on the linguistic analogy and its implications for jurisprudence (...)
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  • The Means/Side-Effect Distinction in Moral Cognition: A Meta-Analysis.Adam Feltz & Joshua May - 2017 - Cognition 166:314-327.
    Experimental research suggests that people draw a moral distinction between bad outcomes brought about as a means versus a side effect (or byproduct). Such findings have informed multiple psychological and philosophical debates about moral cognition, including its computational structure, its sensitivity to the famous Doctrine of Double Effect, its reliability, and its status as a universal and innate mental module akin to universal grammar. But some studies have failed to replicate the means/byproduct effect especially in the absence of other factors, (...)
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  • Moral Judgment and Deontology: Empirical Developments.Joshua May - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (11):745-755.
    A traditional idea is that moral judgment involves more than calculating the consequences of actions; it also requires an assessment of the agent's intentions, the act's nature, and whether the agent uses another person as a means to her ends. I survey experimental developments suggesting that ordinary people often tacitly reason in terms of such deontological rules. It's now unclear whether we should posit a traditional form of the doctrine of double effect. However, further research suggests that a range of (...)
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  • A Cognitive Developmental Approach to Morality: Investigating the Psychopath.R. Blair - 1995 - Cognition 57 (1):1-29.
    Various social animal species have been noted to inhibit aggressive attacks when a conspecific displays submission cues. Blair (1993) has suggested that humans possess a functionally similar mechanism which mediates the suppression of aggression in the context of distress cues. He has suggested that this mechanism is a prerequisite for the development of the moral/conventional distinction; the consistently observed distinction in subject's judgments between moral and conventional transgressions. Psychopaths may lack this violence inhibitor. A causal model is developed showing how (...)
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  • Do Emotions Play a Constitutive Role in Moral Cognition?Bryce Huebner - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):427-440.
    Recent behavioral experiments, along with imaging experiments and neuropsychological studies appear to support the hypothesis that emotions play a causal or constitutive role in moral judgment. Those who resist this hypothesis tend to suggest that affective mechanisms are better suited to play a modulatory role in moral cognition. But I argue that claims about the role of emotion in moral cognition frame the debate in ways that divert attention away from other plausible hypotheses. I suggest that the available data may (...)
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  • Moral Judgment.Jennifer Ellen Nado, Daniel Kelly & Stephen Stich - 2009 - In John Symons & Paco Calvo (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology. Routledge.
    Questions regarding the nature of moral judgment loom large in moral philosophy. Perhaps the most basic of these questions asks how, exactly, moral judgments and moral rules are to be defined; what features distinguish them from other sorts of rules and judgments? A related question concerns the extent to which emotion and reason guide moral judgment. Are moral judgments made mainly on the basis of reason, or are they primarily the products of emotion? As an example of the former view, (...)
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  • Does Disgust Influence Moral Judgment?Joshua May - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):125-141.
    Recent empirical research seems to show that emotions play a substantial role in moral judgment. Perhaps the most important line of support for this claim focuses on disgust. A number of philosophers and scientists argue that there is adequate evidence showing that disgust significantly influences various moral judgments. And this has been used to support or undermine a range of philosophical theories, such as sentimentalism and deontology. I argue that the existing evidence does not support such arguments. At best it (...)
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  • Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind.Joshua May - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    The burgeoning science of ethics has produced a trend toward pessimism. Ordinary moral thought and action, we’re told, are profoundly influenced by arbitrary factors and ultimately driven by unreasoned feelings. This book counters the current orthodoxy on its own terms by carefully engaging with the empirical literature. The resulting view, optimistic rationalism, shows the pervasive role played by reason, and ultimately defuses sweeping debunking arguments in ethics. The science does suggest that moral knowledge and virtue don’t come easily. However, despite (...)
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  • Moral Judgments as Educated Intuitions.Hanno Sauer - 2017 - Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    Rationalists about the psychology of moral judgment argue that moral cognition has a rational foundation. Recent challenges to this account, based on findings in the empirical psychology of moral judgment, contend that moral thinking has no rational basis. In this book, Hanno Sauer argues that moral reasoning does play a role in moral judgment—but not, as is commonly supposed, because conscious reasoning produces moral judgments directly. Moral reasoning figures in the acquisition, formation, maintenance, and reflective correction of moral intuitions. Sauer (...)
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  • Mind Perception is the Essence of Morality.Kurt Gray, Liane Young & Adam Waytz - 2012 - Psychological Inquiry 23 (2):101-124.
    Mind perception entails ascribing mental capacities to other entities, whereas moral judgment entails labeling entities as good or bad or actions as right or wrong. We suggest that mind perception is the essence of moral judgment. In particular, we suggest that moral judgment is rooted in a cognitive template of two perceived minds—a moral dyad of an intentional agent and a suffering moral patient. Diverse lines of research support dyadic morality. First, perceptions of mind are linked to moral judgments: dimensions (...)
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  • Models of Morality.Molly J. Crockett - 2013 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17 (8):363-366.
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  • A Single Counterexample Leads to Moral Belief Revision.Zachary Horne, Derek Powell & John Hummel - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (8):1950-1964.
    What kind of evidence will lead people to revise their moral beliefs? Moral beliefs are often strongly held convictions, and existing research has shown that morality is rooted in emotion and socialization rather than deliberative reasoning. In addition, more general issues—such as confirmation bias—further impede coherent belief revision. Here, we explored a unique means for inducing belief revision. In two experiments, participants considered a moral dilemma in which an overwhelming majority of people judged that it was inappropriate to take action (...)
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  • The Affective Dog and its Rational Tale: Intuition and Attunement.Peter Railton - 2014 - Ethics 124 (4):813-859.
    Intuition—spontaneous, nondeliberative assessment—has long been indispensable in theoretical and practical philosophy alike. Recent research by psychologists and experimental philosophers has challenged our understanding of the nature and authority of moral intuitions by tracing them to “fast,” “automatic,” “button-pushing” responses of the affective system. This view of the affective system contrasts with a growing body of research in affective neuroscience which suggests that it is instead a flexible learning system that generates and updates a multidimensional evaluative landscape to guide decision and (...)
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  • Moral Psychology and the Mencian Creature.David Morrow - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (3):281-304.
    Recent work in various branches of philosophy has reinvigorated debate over the psychology behind moral judgment. Using Marc Hauser's categorization of theories as “Kantian,” “Humean,” or “Rawlsian” to frame the discussion, I argue that the existing evidence weighs against the Kantian model and partly in favor of both the Humean and the Rawlsian models. Emotions do play a causal role in the formation of our moral judgments, as the Humean model claims, but there are also unconscious principles shaping our moral (...)
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  • What Experimental Evidence Shows Us About the Role of Emotions in Moral Judgement.Heidi Maibom - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (11):999-1012.
    In empirically minded research, it is widely agreed that emotions play an important, even essential, role in moral judgment. Experimental research on moral development, psychopathology, helping behavior, moral judgment, and moral justification has been used to support different new forms of sentimentalism. This article reviews this evidence critically and proposes that although it suggests that emotions play a role in moral judgment, it does so in a more limited way than is often assumed to be the case. Some evidence shows (...)
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  • Honor and Moral Revolution.Victor Kumar & Richmond Campbell - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):147-59.
    Western philosophers have generally neglected honor as a moral phenomenon worthy of serious study. Appiah’s recent work on honor in moral revolutions is an important exception, but even he is careful to separate honor from morality, regarding it as only “an ally” of morality. In this paper we take Appiah to be right about the psychological, social, and historical role honor has played in three notable moral revolutions, but wrong about the moral nature of honor. We defend two new theses: (...)
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  • Thinking and Feeling: Moral Deliberation in a Dual-Process Framework.Jillian Craigie - 2011 - Philosophical Psychology 24 (1):53-71.
    Empirical research in the field of moral cognition is increasingly being used to draw conclusions in philosophical moral psychology, in particular regarding sentimentalist and rationalist accounts of moral judgment. This paper calls for a reassessment of both the empirical and philosophical conclusions being drawn from the moral cognition research. It is proposed that moral decision making is best understood as a species of Kahneman and Frederick's dual-process model of decision making. According to this model, emotional intuition-generating processes and reflective processes (...)
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  • Beyond Point-and-Shoot Morality: Why Cognitive (Neuro)Science Matters for Ethics.Joshua D. Greene - 2014 - Ethics 124 (4):695-726.
    In this article I explain why cognitive science (including some neuroscience) matters for normative ethics. First, I describe the dual-process theory of moral judgment and briefly summarize the evidence supporting it. Next I describe related experimental research examining influences on intuitive moral judgment. I then describe two ways in which research along these lines can have implications for ethics. I argue that a deeper understanding of moral psychology favors certain forms of consequentialism over other classes of normative moral theory. I (...)
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  • Are Ethical Judgments Intrinsically Motivational? Lessons From "Acquired Sociopathy".Adina Roskies - 2003 - Philosophical Psychology 16 (1):51 – 66.
    Metaethical questions are typically held to be a priori , and therefore impervious to empirical evidence. Here I examine the metaethical claim that motive-internalism about belief , the position that moral beliefs are intrinsically motivating, is true. I argue that belief-internalists are faced with a dilemma. Either their formulation of internalism is so weak that it fails to be philosophically interesting, or it is a substantive claim but can be shown to be empirically false. I then provide evidence for the (...)
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  • Nothing More Than Feelings? The Role of Emotions in Moral Judgment.David Pizarro - 2000 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 30 (4):355–375.
    In this paper, I review the primary arguments for the traditional position that holds emotions as antagonistic to moral judgments. I argue that this position is untenable given the information about emotions and emotional processes that has emerged in the psychological literature of recent years. I then offer a theoret- ical model of emotive moral judgment that takes a closer look at how emotions, specifically empathy, play an integral role in the process of moral judgment. I argue that emotions should (...)
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  • A Dissociation Between Moral Judgments and Justifications.Marc Hauser, Fiery Cushman, Liane Young, R. Kang-Xing Jin & John Mikhail - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (1):1-21.
    : To what extent do moral judgments depend on conscious reasoning from explicitly understood principles? We address this question by investigating one particular moral principle, the principle of the double effect. Using web-based technology, we collected a large data set on individuals’ responses to a series of moral dilemmas, asking when harm to innocent others is permissible. Each moral dilemma presented a choice between action and inaction, both resulting in lives saved and lives lost. Results showed that: patterns of moral (...)
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  • Sound Morality: Irritating and Icky Noises Amplify Judgments in Divergent Moral Domains.Angelika Seidel & Jesse Prinz - 2013 - Cognition 127 (1):1-5.
    Theoretical models and correlational research suggest that anger and disgust play different roles in moral judgment. Anger is theorized to underlie reactions to crimes against persons, such as battery and unfairness, and disgust is theorized to underlie reactions to crimes against nature, such as sexual transgressions and cannibalism. To date, however, it has not been shown that induction of these two emotions has divergent effects. In this experiment we show divergent effects of anger and disgust. We use sounds to elicit (...)
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  • Moral Vindications.Victor Kumar - 2017 - Cognition 167:124-134.
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  • The Secret Joke of Kant’s Soul.Joshua Greene - 2007 - In W. Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, Vol. 3. MIT Press.
    In this essay, I draw on Haidt’s and Baron’s respective insights in the service of a bit of philosophical psychoanalysis. I will argue that deontological judgments tend to be driven by emotional responses, and that deontological philosophy, rather than being grounded in moral reasoning, is to a large extent3 an exercise in moral rationalization. This is in contrast to consequentialism, which, I will argue, arises from rather different psychological processes, ones that are more “cognitive,” and more likely to involve genuine (...)
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  • The Emotional Construction of Morals.Jesse Prinz - 2009 - Analysis 69 (4):701-704.
    The Emotional Construction of Morals is a book about moral judgements – the kinds of mental states we might express by sentences such as, ‘It's bad to flash your neighbors’, or ‘You ought not eat your pets’. There are three basic questions that get addressed: what are the psychological states that constitute such judgements? What kinds of properties do such judgements refer to? And, where do these judgements come from? The first question concerns moral psychology, the second metaethics and the (...)
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  • Foul Behavior.Victor Kumar - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    Disgust originated as an evolutionary adaptation for avoiding disease, but it has since infiltrated morality. Many philosophers are skeptical of moral disgust. Skeptics argue that disgust is unreliable and harmful, and that we should eliminate or minimize feelings of disgust in moral thought. However, these arguments are unsuccessful. They do not show that disgust is more problematic than other emotions implicated in morality. Moreover, empirical research suggests that disgust supports important norms and values. Disgust is frequently elicited by “reciprocity violations,” (...)
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  • The Role of Conscious Reasoning and Intuition in Moral Judgment.Fiery Cushman, Liane Young & Marc Hauser - 2006 - Psychological Science 17 (12):1082-1089.
    ��Is moral judgment accomplished by intuition or conscious reasoning? An answer demands a detailed account of the moral principles in question. We investigated three principles that guide moral judgments: (a) Harm caused by action is worse than harm caused by omission, (b) harm intended as the means to a goal is worse than harm foreseen as the side effect of a goal, and (c) harm involving physical contact with the victim is worse than harm involving no physical contact. Asking whether (...)
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  • .Daniel Kahneman & Shane Frederick - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
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  • Psychopathy: An Introduction to Biological Findings and Their Implications.Andrea L. Glenn - 2014 - New York University Press.
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  • Moral Dumbfounding and the Linguistic Analogy: Methodological Implications for the Study of Moral Judgment.Susan Dwyer - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (3):274-296.
    The manifest dissociation between our capacity to make moral judgments and our ability to provide justifications for them, a phenomenon labeled Moral Dumbfounding, has important implications for the theory and practice of moral psychology. I articulate and develop the Linguistic Analogy as a robust alternative to existing sentimentalist models of moral judgment inspired by this phenomenon. The Linguistic Analogy motivates a crucial distinction between moral acceptability and moral permissibility judgments, and thereby calls into question prevailing methods used in the study (...)
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