Philosophical Psychology 34 (7):938-961 (2021)

Michael Klenk
Delft University of Technology
Hanno Sauer
Utrecht University
We propose a fundamental challenge to the feasibility of moral progress: most extant theories of progress, we will argue, assume an unrealistic level of cognitive control people must have over their moral judgments for moral progress to occur. Moral progress depends at least in part on the possibility of individual people improving their moral cognition to eliminate the pernicious influence of various epistemically defective biases and other distorting factors. Since the degree of control people can exert over their moral cognition tends to be significantly overestimated, the prospects of moral progress face a formidable problem, the force of which has thus far been underappreciated. In the paper, we will provide both conceptual and empirical arguments for this thesis, and explain its most important implications.
Keywords moral progress  moral judgement  trolley problem  situational factors
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515089.2021.1931670
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

How to Be a Moral Realist.Richard Boyd - 1988 - In G. Sayre-McCord (ed.), Essays on Moral Realism. Cornell University Press. pp. 181-228.
The Ethical Project.Philip Kitcher - 2011 - Harvard University Press.
The View from Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 92 (2):280-281.

View all 39 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Measuring Moral Development.Michael Klenk - 2017 - de Filosoof 75:21-23.
Principle-Based Moral Judgement.Maike Albertzart - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):339-354.
A Cognitive Approach to the 'Happy Victimiser'.Gerhard Minnameier - 2012 - Journal of Moral Education 41 (4):491-508.
Moral Progress and Evolution: Knowledge Versus Understanding.Eleonora Severini - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (1):87-105.
Slavery, Carbon, and Moral Progress.Dale Jamieson - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (1):169-183.
Nietzsche métaéthicien.Daniel Schulthess - 2015 - Revue de Théologie Et de Philosophie 147:45-65.
Individual Moral Development and Moral Progress.Anders Schinkel & Doret J. de Ruyter - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (1):121-136.
Individual Moral Development and Moral Progress.Anders Schinkel & Doret J. Ruyter - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (1):121-136.


Added to PP index

Total views
41 ( #274,070 of 2,498,126 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #26,463 of 2,498,126 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes