Philosophical Psychology 28 (1):21-48 (2015)

Authors
Philippe Schlenker
Institut Jean Nicod
Abstract
Several factors have been put forward to explain the variability of moral judgments for superficially analogous moral dilemmas, in particular in the paradigm of trolley cases. In this paper we elaborate on Mikhail's view that (i) causal analysis is at the core of moral judgments and that (ii) causal judgments can be quantified by linguistic methods. According to this model, our moral judgments depend both on utilitarian considerations (whether positive effects outweigh negative effects) and on a representation of the causal structure of the action (whether the negative effects are essentially side-effects rather than main goals). However, the exact contribution of each factor, as well as the precise way in which causal considerations interact with utilitarian considerations, has yet to be quantified and investigated. We present several variations on trolley dilemmas in which subjects had to assess the morality of the action and to evaluate their preference between two competing descriptions of the scene (..
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DOI 10.1080/09515089.2013.863145
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References found in this work BETA

Universal Moral Grammar: Theory, Evidence, and the Future.John Mikhail - 1912 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):143 –152.
The Theory of Morality.Alan Donagan - 1977 - University of Chicago Press.

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