The Perceived Objectivity of Ethical Beliefs: Psychological Findings and Implications for Public Policy [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):161-188 (2010)
Ethical disputes arise over differences in the content of the ethical beliefs people hold on either side of an issue. One person may believe that it is wrong to have an abortion for financial reasons, whereas another may believe it to be permissible. But, the magnitude and difficulty of such disputes may also depend on other properties of the ethical beliefs in question—in particular, how objective they are perceived to be. As a psychological property of moral belief, objectivity is relatively unexplored, and we argue that it merits more attention. We review recent psychological evidence which demonstrates that individuals differ in the extent to which they perceive ethical beliefs to be objective, that some ethical beliefs are perceived to be more objective than others, and that both these sources of variance are somewhat systematic. This evidence also shows that differences in perceptions of objectivity underpin quite different psychological reactions to ethical disagreement. Apart from reviewing this evidence, our aim in this paper is to draw attention to unanswered psychological questions about moral objectivity, and to discuss the relevance of moral objectivity to two issues of public policy.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy of Science Developmental Psychology Neuropsychology Epistemology Cognitive Psychology Philosophy of Mind|
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References found in this work BETA
Allan Gibbard (2003). Thinking How to Live. Harvard University Press.
Michael Smith (1994). The Moral Problem. Blackwell.
Allan Gibbard (1990). Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: A Theory of Normative Judgment. Harvard University Press.
Bernard Arthur Owen Williams (1985). Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Harvard University Press.
Thomas Nagel (1979). Mortal Questions. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Hagop Sarkissian, John Park, David Tien, Jennifer Wright & Joshua Knobe (2011). Folk Moral Relativism. Mind and Language 26 (4):482-505.
Thomas Pölzler (2016). Further Problems with Projectivism. South African Journal of Philosophy 35 (1):92-102.
Ben Fraser (2013). Moral Error Theories and Folk Metaethics. Philosophical Psychology 6 (6):1-18.
Katinka Quintelier & Daniel Fessler (2012). Varying Versions of Moral Relativism: The Philosophy and Psychology of Normative Relativism. Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):95-113.
Derek Leben (2012). When Psychology Undermines Beliefs. Philosophical Psychology (3):1-23.
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