In this essay I argue that moraljudgment is a natural kind by developing an empirically grounded theory of the distinctive conceptual content of moral judgments. Psychological research on the moral/conventional distinction suggests that in moral judgments right and wrong, good and bad, praiseworthiness and blameworthiness, etc. are conceptualized as serious, general, authority-independent, and objective. After laying out the theory and the empirical evidence that supports it, I address recent empirical and conceptual objections. Finally, I (...) suggest that the theory uniquely accounts for the possibility of genuine moral agreement and disagreement. (shrink)
The ability of a group of adults with high functioning autism (HFA) or Asperger Syndrome (AS) to distinguish moral, conventional and disgust transgressions was investigated using a set of six transgression scenarios, each of which was followed by questions about permissibility, seriousness, authority contingency and justification. The results showed that although individuals with HFA or AS (HFA/AS) were able to distinguish affect-backed norms from conventional affect-neutral norms along the dimensions of permissibility, seriousness and authority-dependence, they failed to distinguish (...) class='Hi'>moral and disgust transgressions along the seriousness dimension and were unable to provide appropriate welfare-based moral justifications. Moreover, they judged conventional and disgust transgressions to be more serious than did the comparison group, and the correlation analysis revealed that the seriousness rating was related to their ToM impairment. We concluded that difficulties providing appropriate moral justifications and evaluating the seriousness of transgressions in individuals with HFA/AS may be explained by an impaired cognitive appraisal system that, while responsive to rule violations, fails to use relevant information about the agent’s intentions and the affective impact of the action outcome in conscious moral reasoning. (shrink)
Wider possibilities for moral thought -- Objectivity revisited: a lesson from the work of J.L. Austin -- Ethics, inheriting from Wittgenstein -- Moral thought beyond moraljudgment: the case of literature -- Reclaiming moraljudgment: the case of feminist thought -- Moralism as a central moral problem.
Consider orthodox motivational judgment internalism: necessarily, A’s sincere moraljudgment that he or she ought to φ motivates A to φ. Such principles fail because they cannot accommodate the amoralist, or one who renders moral judgments without any corresponding motivation. The orthodox alternative, externalism, posits only contingent relations between moraljudgment and motivation. In response I first revive conceptual internalism by offering some modifications on the amoralist case to show that certain community-wide motivational failures (...) are not conceptually possible. Second, I introduce a theory of moral motivation that supplements the intuitive responses to different amoralist cases. According to moraljudgment purposivism (MJP), in rough approximation, a purpose of moral judgments is to motivate corresponding behaviors such that a mental state without this purpose is not a moraljudgment. MJP is consistent with conceptual desiderata, provides an illuminating analysis of amoralist cases, and offers a step forward in the internalist-externalist debates. (shrink)
This article reviews 172 studies that used the Defining Issues Test to investigate the moral development of undergraduate college students and provides an organisational framework for analysing educational contexts in higher education. These studies addressed collegiate outcomes related to character or civic outcomes, selected aspects of students' collegiate experiences related to moral judgement development and changes in moral reasoning during the college years as they related to changes in other domains of development. Findings suggest that dramatic gains (...) in moral judgement are associated with collegiate participation, even after controlling for age and entering level of moral judgement. Although many studies used gross indicators of collegiate context (e.g. institutional type or academic discipline), studies that examine specific collegiate characteristics and educational experiences are better suited to identifying factors that contribute directly or indirectly to changes in moral judgement during the college years. Implications for student development practice and future research are discussed. (shrink)
This long-awaited two-volume set constitutes the definitive presentation of the system of classifying moraljudgment built up by Lawrence Kohlberg and his associates over a period of twenty years. Researchers in child development and education around the world, many of whom have worked with interim versions of the system, indeed, all those seriously interested in understanding the problem of moraljudgment, will find it an indispensable resource. Volume I reviews Kohlberg's stage theory, and the by-now large (...) body of research on the significance and utility of his moral stages. Issues of reliability and validity are addressed. The volume ends with detailed instructions for using the forms in Volume 2. Volume 2, in a specially-designed, user-friendly format, includes three alternative functionally-equivalent forms of the scoring system. (shrink)
Questions regarding the nature of moraljudgment 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 moraljudgment. 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, Kant held all moral requirements to be derived from a principle of rationality (the categorical imperative). As an example of the latter, Hume famously claimed that reason is “the slave of the passions” and that moral judgments stem from the moral emotions. When addressing these issues, philosophers have largely relied on the traditional tools of philosophical analysis, along with introspection, anecdotal evidence and armchair speculation. In recent years, however, a rich body experimental psychology has emerged which, in the view of a growing number of philosophers, casts important new light on these venerable questions. Our aim, in this chapter, is to illustrate how empirical methods can help move traditional philosophical debates forward in interesting and important ways. Since space does not permit an exhaustive survey of the relevant experimental work, we will focus on a few of the most compelling examples. (shrink)
Let cognitivism be the view that moral judgments are cognitive mental states and noncognitivism the view that they are noncognitive mental states. Here I argue for moraljudgment pluralism: some moral judgments are cognitive states and some are noncognitive states. More specifically, according to my pluralism some judgments are moral because they carry a moral content (e.g., that genocide is wrong) and some are moral because they employ a moral attitude (e.g., indignation, (...) or guilt); the former are the cognitive moral judgments and the latter the noncognitive ones. After explaining and motivating the view, I argue that this kind of pluralism handles quite elegantly several of the core issues that have structured the debate on cognitivism vs. noncognitivism. (shrink)
It is widely accepted in psychology and cognitive science that there are two “systems” in the mind: one system is characterized as quick, intuitive, perceptive, and perhaps more primitive, while the other is described as slower, more deliberative, and responsible for our higher-order cognition. I use the term “reflectivism” to capture the view that conscious reflection—in the “System 2” sense—is a necessary feature of good moraljudgment and decision-making. This is not to suggest that System 2 must operate (...) alone in forming our moral decisions, but that it plays a normatively ineliminable role. In this paper, I discuss arguments that have been offered in defense of reflectivism. These arguments fit into two broad categories; let us think of them as two sides of a coin. On the first side are arguments about the efficaciousness of conscious reasoning—for example, without conscious deliberation we will make bad moral judgments and decisions. On the other side of the coin are arguments about the centrality of conscious deliberation to normative actions—for example, without conscious deliberation we are no more agential than animals or automatons. Despite their attractiveness, I argue that these arguments do not successfully establish that reflection is a necessary component of good moraljudgment and decision-making. If I am right, the idea that good moraljudgment and decision-making can result from entirely automatic and subconscious processes gains traction. My goal in this paper is to show that reflectivism fails to include the full range of cases of moral decision-making and that a theory of automaticity may do a better job. I briefly discuss at the end of the paper how an account of successful automatic moraljudgment and decision-making might begin to take shape. (shrink)
While there is much evidence for the influence of automatic emotional responses on moraljudgment, 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 a scenario involving incest between consenting adult siblings, a scenario known for eliciting emotionally driven condemnation that resists reasoned persuasion. Here, we manipulated two factors related to moral reasoning: argument strength and deliberation time. These factors interacted in a manner consistent with moral reasoning: A strong argument defending the incestuous behavior was more persuasive than a weak argument, but only when increased deliberation time encouraged subjects to reflect. (shrink)
A traditional idea is that moraljudgment 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 non-consequentialist factors influence moraljudgment, including intentions, commissions, personal harm, and agent-centered commitments. Many, if not all, such factors appear to affect how involved the agent is in bringing about an outcome. (shrink)
We propose that the prevalent moral aversion to AWS is supported by a pair of compelling objections. First, we argue that even a sophisticated robot is not the kind of thing that is capable of replicating human moraljudgment. This conclusion follows if human moraljudgment is not codifiable, i.e., it cannot be captured by a list of rules. Moraljudgment requires either the ability to engage in wide reflective equilibrium, the ability to (...) perceive certain facts as moral considerations, moral imagination, or the ability to have moral experiences with a particular phenomenological character. Robots cannot in principle possess these abilities, so robots cannot in principle replicate human moraljudgment. If robots cannot in principle replicate human moraljudgment then it is morally problematic to deploy AWS with that aim in mind. Second, we then argue that even if it is possible for a sufficiently sophisticated robot to make ‘moral decisions’ that are extensionally indistinguishable from (or better than) human moral decisions, these ‘decisions’ could not be made for the right reasons. This means that the ‘moral decisions’ made by AWS are bound to be morally deficient in at least one respect even if they are extensionally indistinguishable from human ones. Our objections to AWS support the prevalent aversion to the employment of AWS in war. They also enjoy several significant advantages over the most common objections to AWS in the literature. (shrink)
This paper compares and contrasts two distinct techniques for measuring moraljudgment: The MoralJudgment Interview and the Defining Issues Test. The theoretical foundations, accompanying advantages and limitations, as well as appropriate usage of these methodologies are discussed. Adaptation and use of the instruments for business ethics research is given special attention.
An increasing number of scholars argue that moral judgements are adaptations, i.e., that they have been shaped by natural selection. Is this hypothesis true? In this paper I shall not attempt to answer this important question. Rather, I pursue the more modest aim of pointing out three difficulties that anybody who sets out to determine the adaptedness of moral judgments should be aware of (though some so far have not been aware of). First, the hypothesis that moral (...) judgements are adaptations has been advocated in various different specificities and scopes, and on various different levels. Second, the three kinds of evidence that have most often been appealed to by discussants of this hypothesis require additional arguments. And third, there is significant reasonable disagreement about what moral judgements essentially are. (shrink)
Recent empirical research seems to show that emotions play a substantial role in moraljudgment. 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 suggests something rather different: that moraljudgment can have a minor emotive function, in addition to a substantially descriptive one. (shrink)
Shows that the very same asymmetries that arise for intentionally also arise from deciding, desiring, in favor of, opposed to, and advocating. It seems that the phenomenon is not due to anything about the concept of intentional action in particular. Rather, the effects observed for the concept of intentional action should be regarded as just one manifestation of the pervasive impact of moraljudgment.
This paper argues that an emotion is a state of affectively perceiving its intentional object as falling under a "thick affective concept" A, a concept that combines cognitive and affective aspects in a way that cannot be pulled apart. For example, in a state of pity an object is seen as pitiful, where to see something as pitiful is to be in a state that is both cognitive and affective. One way of expressing an emotion is to assert that the (...) intentional object of the emotion falls under the thick affective concept distinctive of the emotion. I argue that the most basic kind of moraljudgment is is this category. It has the form "That is A" (pitiful, contemptible, rude, etc.). Such judgments combine the features of cognitivism and motivational judgment internalism, an advantage that explains why we find moral weakness problematic in spite of its ubiquity. I then outline a process I call "thinning" the judgment, which explains how moral strength, weakness, and apathy arise. I argue that this process is necessary for moral reasoning and communication, in spite of its disadvantage in disengaging the agent's motivating emotion from the judgment. (shrink)
It has long been known that people’s causal judgments can have an impact on their moral judgments. To take a simple example, if people conclude that a behavior caused the death of ten innocent children, they will therefore be inclined to regard the behavior itself as morally wrong. So far, none of this should come as any surprise. But recent experimental work points to the existence of a second, and more surprising, aspect of the relationship between causal judgment (...) and moraljudgment. It appears that the relationship can sometimes go in the opposite direction. That is, it appears that our moral judgments can sometimes impact our causal judgments. (Hence, we might first determine that a behavior is morally wrong and then, on that basis, arrive at the conclusion that it was the cause of various outcomes.). (shrink)
In this paper, my aim is to bring together contemporary psychological literature on emotion regulation and the classical sentimentalism of David Hume and Adam Smith to arrive at a plausible account of empathy's role in explaining patterns of moraljudgment. Along the way, I criticize related arguments by Michael Slote, Jesse Prinz, and others.
A cross-sectional study explored the moral judgement competence and moral attitudes of 310 Czech and Slovak and 70 foreign national students at the Medical Faculty of Charles University in Hradec Králové, Czech Republic. Lind's Moral Judgement Test was used to evaluate moral judgement competence and moral attitudes depending on factors such as age, number of semesters of study, sex, nationality and religion. Moral judgement competence decreased significantly in the Czech and Slovak medical students as (...) they grew older; in medical students from other countries it did not significantly increase. The influence of other factors (sex, nationality and religion) on moral judgement competence was not proven in either the Czech and Slovak or the foreign national medical students. Moral attitudes do not change; the Czech and Slovak as well as the foreign students preferred the post-conventional levels of moral judgement (Kohlberg's 5th and 6th stages). The fact that the Czech and Slovak students' moral judgement competence decreased with age and number of semesters of study completed is not an optimistic sign: medical students who had undergone a lower number of semesters of study were morally more competent. (shrink)
I criticize an important argument of Michael Smith, from his recent book The Moral Problem (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994). Smith's argument, if sound, would undermine one form of moral externalism 2013 that which insists that moral judgements only contingently motivate their authors. Smith claims that externalists must view good agents as always prompted by the motive of duty, and that possession of such a motive impugns the goodness of the agent. I argue (i) that externalists do not (ordinarily) (...) need to assign moral agents such as a motive, and (ii) that possession of this motive, when properly understood, is morally admirable. (shrink)
Recent, well-publicized accounting scandals have shown that the penalties outsiders impose on those found culpable of earnings management can be severe. However, less is known about how colleagues within internal labor markets respond when they believe fellow managers have managed earnings. Designers of responsibility accounting systems need to understand the reputational costs managers impose on one another within internal labor markets. In an experimental study, 159 evening MBA students were asked to assume the role of a manager in a company (...) and respond to a scenario in which another manager (the target manager) has the opportunity to engage in earnings management. Participants provided causal attributions, assessed the morality of the target manager, and indicated whether they would change their judgments about the target manager's reputation. The study manipulated three between-subjects factors: (1) whether the target manager chose to engage in earnings management, (2) whether the company's budgetary control system was rigid or flexible, and (3) whether the target manager's work history was average or above average. We found that causal attributions are affected more by the budgetary systems when the target did not manage earnings than when the manager did. We also found that morality judgments were significantly associated with the target manager's behavior, but not with the budgetary system. In addition, participants' judgments about the target manager's reputation were more strongly associated with morality judgments than with causal attributions. We discuss implications of the role of reputation in management control systems design. (shrink)
The past decade has seen a renewed interest in moral psychology. A unique feature of the present endeavor is its unprecedented interdisciplinarity. For the first time, cognitive, social, and developmental psychologists, neuroscientists, experimental philosophers, evolutionary biologists, and anthropologists collaborate to study the same or overlapping phenomena. This review focuses on moral judgments and is written from the perspective of cognitive psychologists interested in theories of the cognitive and affective processes underlying judgments in moral domains. The review will (...) first present and discuss a variety of different theoretical and empirical approaches, including both behavioral and neuroscientific studies. We will then show how these theories can be applied to a selected number of specific research topics that have attracted particular interest in recent years, including the distinction between moral and conventional rules, moral dilemmas, the role of intention, and sacred/protected values. One overarching question we will address throughout the chapter is whether moral cognitions are distinct and special, or whether they can be subsumed under more domain-general mechanisms. (shrink)
ABSTRACT In this paper, I argue that recent evidence regarding the psychological basis of moral cognition supports a form of moral abolitionism. I identify three main problems undermining the epistemic quality of our moral judgments – contamination, reliability, and bad incentives – and reject three possible responses: neither moral expertise, nor moral learning, nor the possibility of moral progress succeed in solving the aforementioned epistemic problems. The result is a moderate form of moral (...) abolitionism, according to which we should make fewer moral judgments much more carefully. (shrink)
This study develops a Science–Technology–Society (STS)-based science ethics education program for high school students majoring in or planning to major in science and engineering. Our education program includes the fields of philosophy, history, sociology and ethics of science and technology, and other STS-related theories. We expected our STS-based science ethics education program to promote students’ epistemological beliefs and moraljudgment development. These psychological constructs are needed to properly solve complicated moral and social dilemmas in the fields of (...) science and engineering. We applied this program to a group of Korean high school science students gifted in science and engineering. To measure the effects of this program, we used an essay-based qualitative measurement. The results indicate that there was significant development in both epistemological beliefs and moraljudgment. In closing, we briefly discuss the need to develop epistemological beliefs and moraljudgment using an STS-based science ethics education program. (shrink)
Abstract This paper examines research and theory regarding the process of moral judgement development within the family environment. Four major issues in research on the family's influence on moral judgement development are outlined and the existing data relevant to these issues are briefly presented. The author's approach to studying these issues is described. The implications of research on moral development within the family for moral education are also addressed.
We argue that there is significant evidence for reconsidering the possibility that moraljudgment constitutes a distinctive category of judgment. We begin by reviewing evidence and arguments from neuroscience and philosophy that seem to indicate that a diversity of brain processes result in verdicts that we ordinarily consider “moral judgments”. We argue that if these findings are correct, this is plausible reason for doubting that all moral judgments necessarily share common features: if diverse brain processes (...) give rise to what we refer to as “moral judgments”, then we have reason to suspect that these judgments may have different features. After advancing this argument, we show that giving up the unity of moraljudgment seems to effectively dissolve the internalism/externalism debate concerning motivation within the field of metaethics. (shrink)
For many years, researchers and practitioners have sought out meaningful indicators of sales performance. Yet, as the concept of performance has broadened, the understanding of what makes up a successful seller, has become far more complicated. The complexity of buyer–seller relationships has changed therefore as the definition of sales performance has expanded, cultivating a growing interest in ethical/unethical actions since they could potentially have impacts on sales performance. Given this environment, the purpose of this study is to explore the impact (...) of moraljudgment on sales performance and sellers engaging in a customer-oriented selling approach. Specifically, by utilizing a sample of 345 business-to-business salespeople, this study examines the relationships between moraljudgment, customer-oriented selling, and outcome and behavior based performance. Results, managerial implications, and opportunities for future research are provided. (shrink)
The recent, influential Social Intuitionist Model of moraljudgment (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 indicates a complex interplay between automatic and deliberative mental processes in moraljudgment formation, with the latter constraining the expression and influence of moral intuitions. We therefore conclude that the psychological literature supports a normative conception of agency. (shrink)
Interactions between human beings and chatbots are gradually becoming part of our everyday social lives. It is still unclear how human–chatbot interactions, compared to human–human interactions, influence individual morality. Building on the dual-process theory of moraljudgment, a secondary data analysis, and two scenario-based experiments provide sufficient evidence that HCIs support utilitarian judgments, which reduce participants' donation amount. Study 3 further demonstrates that the negative effects of HCIs can be attenuated by inducing a social-oriented communication style in chatbots’ (...) verbal language designs. These findings highlight the negative impacts of HCIs on relationships among human beings and suggest a practical intervention for nonprofit organization managers. (shrink)
This study provides a comparative analysis of students' self-reported beliefs and behaviors related to six analogous pairs of conventional and digital forms of academic cheating. Results from an online survey of undergraduates at two universities (N = 1,305) suggest that students use conventional means more often than digital means to copy homework, collaborate when it is not permitted, and copy from others during an exam. However, engagement in digital plagiarism (cutting and pasting from the Internet) has surpassed conventional plagiarism. Students (...) also reported using digital "cheat sheets" (i.e., notes stored in a digital device) to cheat on tests more often than conventional "cheat sheets." Overall, 32% of students reported no cheating of any kind, 18.2% reported using only conventional methods, 4.2% reported using only digital methods, and 45.6% reported using both conventional and digital methods to cheat. "Digital only" cheaters were less likely than "conventional only" cheaters to report assignment cheating, but the former was more likely than the latter to report engagement in plagiarism. Students who cheated both conventionally and digitally were significantly different from the other three groups in terms of their self-reported engagement in all three types of cheating behavior. Students in this "both" group also had the lowest sense of moral responsibility to refrain from cheating and the greatest tendency to neutralize that responsibility. The scientific and educational implications of these findings are discussed in this study. (shrink)
We developed and tested a behavioral version of the Defining Issues Test-1 revised (DIT-1r), which is a measure of the development of moraljudgment. We conducted a behavioral experiment using the behavioral Defining Issues Test (bDIT) to examine the relationship between participants’ moral developmental status, moral competence, and reaction time when making moral judgments. We found that when the judgments were made based on the preferred moral schema, the reaction time for moral judgments (...) was significantly moderated by the moral developmental status. In addition, as a participant becomes more confident with moraljudgment, the participant differentiates the preferred versus other schemas better particularly when the participant’s abilities for moraljudgment are more developed. (shrink)
It is widely acknowledged that moral principles are not sufficient to guide moral thought and action: they need to be supplemented by a capacity for judgement. However, why can we not rely on this capacity for moral judgement alone? Why do moral principles need to be supplemented, but are not supplanted, by judgement? So-called moral particularists argue that we can, and should, make moral decisions on a case-by-case basis without any principles. According to particularists, (...) the person of moral judgement is a person of empathy, sensibility and virtue, rather than a person of principle. In this paper I argue that this is a false dichotomy. The person of good moral judgement is a person of principle. I propose that we think of moral principles as internalised long-term commitments that form our moral character and sensitivity, and, as such, are constitutive of moral judgement. (shrink)
Ordinary people often make moral judgments that are consistent with philosophical principles and legal distinctions. For example, they judge killing as worse than letting die, and harm caused as a necessary means to a greater good as worse than harm caused as a side-effect (Cushman, Young, & Hauser, 2006). Are these patterns of judgment produced by mechanisms specific to the moral domain, or do they derive from other psychological domains? We show that the action/omission and means/side-effect distinctions (...) affect nonmoral representations and provide evidence that their role in moraljudgment is mediated by these nonmoral psychological representations. Specifically, the action/omission distinction affects moraljudgment primarily via causal attribution, while the means/side-effect distinction affects moraljudgment via intentional attribution. We suggest that many of the specific patterns evident in our moral judgments in fact derive from nonmoral psychological mechanisms, and especially from the processes of causal and intentional attribution. (shrink)
Cognitivists and non-cognitivists in contemporary meta-ethics tend to assume that moral judgments are semantically uniform. That is, they share the assumption that either all moral judgments express beliefs, or they all express non-beliefs. But what if some moral judgments express beliefs and others do not? Then moral judgments are not semantically uniform and the question “Cognitivist or non-cognitivist?” poses a false dilemma. I will question the assumption that moral judgments are semantically uniform. First, I will (...) explain what I mean by the assumption (section 2). I will call this assumption SUM, the semantic uniformity of moral judgments. Second, I will provide some examples in order to illustrate that SUM cannot be taken for granted (section 3). Third, I will try to understand, using ideas from Wittgenstein, why SUM has nevertheless so often been taken for granted (section 4). Fourth, I will discuss some authors in contemporary meta-ethics who have noted the false dilemma between cognitivism and non-cognitivism and evaluate the solutions they propose for overcoming it (section 5). Fifth, I will indicate, again with some help from Wittgenstein, how meta-ethical research about moral judgments is possible without the assumption that morality is semantically uniform (section 6). (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Moral knowledge appears to require moral judgments to be states of belief, yet they must at the same time be states of desire and feeling if they embody the motivation that we feel when we make moral judgments. How can the same judgment be a state of belief and a state of desire or feeling, simultaneously? [...] This problem may be resolved, I shall contend, by understanding moral judgments to be complex, multifunctional states that normally (...) comprise both states of belief that represent possible moral truths and states of emotion and motivation. (shrink)
A two stage model was developed and tested to explain how ethical leadership relates to followers’ ethical judgment in an organizational context. Drawing on social learning theory, ethical leadership was hypothesized to promote followers’ self-leadership focused on ethics. It was found that followers’ perceived accountability fully accounts for this relationship. In stage two, the relationship between self-leadership focused on ethics and moraljudgment in a dual decision-making system was described and tested. Self-leadership focused on ethics was only (...) related to moraljudgment when followers use active judgment as opposed to their intuition. This provides support that a deliberate application of self-leadership focused on ethics leads to higher moraljudgment. Theoretical and practical implications as well as future research opportunities are discussed. (shrink)
The central question of the branch of metaethics we may call philosophical moral psychology concerns the nature or essence of moraljudgment: what is it to think that something is right or wrong, good or bad, obligatory or forbidden? One datum in this inquiry is that sincerely held moral views appear to influence conduct: on the whole, people do not engage in behaviours they genuinely consider base or evil, sometimes even when they would stand to benefit (...) from it personally. Moral judgments thus appear to be motivationally effective, at least to an extent. This motivational success would be readily explained if they simply were motivationally effective psychological states, such as desires. This is what Hobbes seems to do when he claims that "whatsoever is the object of any man's appetite or desire, that is it which he for his part calleth good; and the object of his hate and aversion, evil."1 But this is far too quick. We know that moral judgments can also fail to lead to corresponding action. For example, since it is conceptually possible – not to mention all too common in the actual world – to think that something is wrong and yet want to do it, thinking that something is wrong cannot simply consist in aversion toward it, unlike Hobbes seems to have thought. In this way, reflection on the various.. (shrink)
Empathic feelings seem to causally influence our moral judgments at least sometimes. But is empathy necessary for our ability to make moral judgments? And is it a good thing if our judgments are based on empathy? This chapter examines the contemporary debate on these issues.
We chart how neuroscience and philosophy have together advanced our understanding of moraljudgment with implications for when it goes well or poorly. The field initially focused on brain areas associated with reason versus emotion in the moral evaluations of sacrificial dilemmas. But new threads of research have studied a wider range of moral evaluations and how they relate to models of brain development and learning. By weaving these threads together, we are developing a better understanding (...) of the neurobiology of moraljudgment in adulthood and to some extent in childhood and adolescence. Combined with rigorous evidence from psychology and careful philosophical analysis, neuroscientific evidence can even help shed light on the extent of moral knowledge and on ways to promote healthy moral development. (shrink)