David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In philosophy, a debate can live forever. Nowhere is this more evident than in ethics, a field that is fueled by apparently intractable dilemmas. To promote the wellbeing of many, may we sacrifice the rights of a few? If our actions are predetermined, can we be held responsible for them? Should people be judged on their intentions alone, or also by the consequences of their behavior? Is failing to prevent someone’s death as blameworthy as actively causing it? For generations, questions like these have provoked passionate arguments and counterarguments, but few clear answers. Here, we offer a psychological account of why philosophical dilemmas arise, why they resist resolution, and why scientists should pay attention to them. Building on a family of recent proposals (Cushman & Young, 2009; Greene, 2008; Sinnott- Armstrong, 2008), we argue that dilemmas result from conflict between dissociable psychological processes. When two such processes yield different answers to the same question, that question becomes a “dilemma”. No matter which answer you choose, part of you walks away dissatisfied. This explanation of philosophical dilemmas has an important payoff for psychological research, and we discuss two specific cases in which it has yielded promising results. In each case, social neuroscience has played an important role in distinguishing the psychological processes responsible for producing a dilemma. This, we suggest, is no accident; cognitive neuroscientific methods are particularly well-suited to dissociating independent psychological processes (Henson, 2006). Consequently, philosophers’ dilemmas provide a reliable guide toward productive cognitive neuroscience by identifying the contours of distinct psychological process. The research we review below focuses particularly on moral dilemmas, which is our own area of expertise. The psychological processes that contribute to moral judgment are of interest in their own right, and play a central role in social cognition..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Fiery Cushman & Liane Young (2009). The Psychology of Dilemmas and the Philosophy of Morality. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (1):9 - 24.
Liane Young (2009). The Psychology of Dilemmas and the Philosophy of Morality. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (1):9 - 24.
Peter Vallentyne (1989). Two Types of Moral Dilemmas. Erkenntnis 30 (3):301 - 318.
Alex Rajczi (2002). The Moral Theory Behind Moral Dilemmas. American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (4):373-383.
H. E. Mason (ed.) (1996). Moral Dilemmas and Moral Theory. Oxford University Press.
Peter Vallentyne (1992). Moral Dilemmas and Comparative Conceptions of Morality. Southern Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):117-124.
Patricia Marino (2001). Moral Dilemmas, Collective Responsibility, and Moral Progress. Philosophical Studies 104 (2):203 - 225.
Peter Vallentyne (1989). “Two Types of Moral Dilemmas”. Erkenntnis 30 (3):301-318.
Jurriaan De Haan (2001). The Definition of Moral Dilemmas: A Logical Problem. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (3):267-284.
Shaun Nichols & Ron Mallon (2006). Moral Dilemmas and Moral Rules. Cognition 100 (3):530-542.
Christopher W. Gowans (ed.) (1987). Moral Dilemmas. Oxford Uiversity Press.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads44 ( #38,755 of 1,102,721 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #46,741 of 1,102,721 )
How can I increase my downloads?