David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 162 (2):421-445 (2013)
Ethical theory often starts with our intuitions about particular cases and tries to uncover the principles that are implicit in them; work on the ‘trolley problem’ is a paradigmatic example of this approach. But ethicists are no longer the only ones chasing trolleys. In recent years, psychologists and neuroscientists have also turned to study our moral intuitions and what underlies them. The relation between these two inquiries, which investigate similar examples and intuitions, and sometimes produce parallel results, is puzzling. Does it matter to ethics whether its armchair conclusions match the psychologists’ findings? I argue that reflection on this question exposes psychological presuppositions implicit in armchair ethical theorising. When these presuppositions are made explicit, it becomes clear that empirical evidence can (and should) play a positive role in ethical theorising. Unlike recent assaults on the armchair, the argument I develop is not driven by a naturalist agenda, or meant to cast doubt on the reliability of our moral intuitions; on the contrary, it is even compatible with non-naturalism, and takes the reliability of intuition as its premise. The argument is rather that if our moral intuitions are reliable, then psychological evidence should play a surprisingly significant role in the justification of moral principles.
|Keywords||Moral Epistemology Empirical Moral Psychology Reflective Equilibrium Moral Intuition Moral Principles Trolley Problem Experimental Ethics|
|Categories||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
Jonathan Dancy (2004). Ethics Without Principles. Oxford University Press.
Thomas Scanlon (2008). Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Michael Huemer (2005). Ethical Intuitionism. Palgrave Macmillan.
Eric Schwitzgebel & Fiery Cushman (2012). Expertise in Moral Reasoning? Order Effects on Moral Judgment in Professional Philosophers and Non-Philosophers. Mind and Language 27 (2):135-153.
Selim Berker (2009). The Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience. Philosophy and Public Affairs 37 (4):293-329.
Citations of this work BETA
Tommaso Bruni, Matteo Mameli & Regina A. Rini (2014). The Science of Morality and its Normative Implications. Neuroethics 7 (2):159-172.
Kirsten Persson & David Shaw (2015). Empirical Methods in Animal Ethics. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (5):853-866.
Similar books and articles
Joakim Sandberg & Niklas Juth (2011). Ethics and Intuitions: A Reply to Singer. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 15 (3):209-226.
James McBain (2005). Moral Theorizing and Intuition Pumps; Or, Should We Worry About People’s Everyday Intuitions About Ethical Issues? The Midwest Quarterly 46 (3):268-283.
Kevin Tobia, Wesley Buckwalter & Stephen Stich (2013). Moral Intuitions: Are Philosophers Experts? Philosophical Psychology 26 (5):629-638.
Alessandro Lanteri, Chiara Chelini & Salvatore Rizzello (2008). An Experimental Investigation of Emotions and Reasoning in the Trolley Problem. Journal of Business Ethics 83 (4):789 - 804.
Victor Kumar & Richmond Campbell (2012). On the Normative Significance of Experimental Moral Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 25 (3):311-330.
Thomas Nadelhoffer & Adam Feltz (2008). The Actor–Observer Bias and Moral Intuitions: Adding Fuel to Sinnott-Armstrong's Fire. Neuroethics 1 (2):133-144.
Joseph M. Paxton & Joshua D. Greene (2010). Moral Reasoning: Hints and Allegations. Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):511-527.
Henrik Ahlenius & Torbjörn Tännsjö (2012). Chinese and Westerners Respond Differently to the Trolley Dilemmas. Journal of Cognition and Culture 12 (3-4):195-201.
Bryce Huebner & Marc D. Hauser (2011). Moral Judgments About Altruistic Self-Sacrifice: When Philosophical and Folk Intuitions Clash. Philosophical Psychology 24 (1):73-94.
Caj Strandberg & Fredrik Björklund (2013). Is Moral Internalism Supported by Folk Intuitions? Philosophical Psychology 26 (3):319-335.
Bryce Huebner (2011). Critiquing Empirical Moral Psychology. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 41 (1):50-83.
Patrick Welch (2011). Moral Psychology and the Problem of Moral Criteria. Journal of Moral Education 40 (4):513-526.
Ben Eggleston (2010). Practical Equilibrium: A Way of Deciding What to Think About Morality. Mind 119 (475):549 - 584.
Katinka Quintelier & Daniel Fessler (2012). Varying Versions of Moral Relativism: The Philosophy and Psychology of Normative Relativism. Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):95-113.
Added to index2011-06-07
Total downloads220 ( #7,453 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)20 ( #41,183 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?