Harm, Affect and the Moral/Conventional Distinction: Revisited
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In a recent paper, Shaun Nichols (2002) presents a theory that offers an explanation of the cognitive processes underlying moral judgment. His Affect-Backed Norms theory claims that (i) a set of normative rules coupled with (ii) an affective mechanism elicits a certain response pattern (which we will refer to as the “moral norm response pattern”) when subjects respond to transgressions of those norms. That response pattern differs from the way subjects respond to violations of norms that lack the affective backing (here referred to as the “conventional norm response pattern”). In response, Daniel Kelly and colleagues (2007) present data that, the authors claim, undermine Nichols’ Affect-Backed Norms theory by showing that there are novel cases in which (i) and (ii) are in place, yet subjects respond in the way typical of the conventional response pattern. In Section I of this paper we summarize the challenge to the Affect-Backed Norms theory from the novel cases introduced by Kelly et al. We then show how the challenge is potentially flawed because no verification was provided that subjects were experiencing affect when reading the cases, nor was level of affect controlled for. In Section II, we describe the study we conducted to determine what level of affect was induced when subjects read the novel cases. In Section III, we present our findings, namely that subjects respond to the novel cases with different levels of affect, which tracks their judgments of the severity of the transgressions in the cases. In Section IV, we discuss the results and show that the Affect-Backed Norms theory can explain subjects’ responses to the novel cases given this new 2 information about affective response. In Section V, we conclude with a thought about how these findings inform the traditional moral/conventional distinction.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|External links||This entry has no external links. Add one.|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Shaun Nichols (2002). Norms with Feeling: Towards a Psychological Account of Moral Judgment. Cognition 84 (2):221–236.
R. J. R. Blair (1997). Affect and the Moral‐Conventional Distinction. Journal of Moral Education 26 (2):187-196.
Daniel Kelly, Stephen Stich, Kevin J. Haley, Serena J. Eng & Daniel M. T. Fessler (2007). Harm, Affect, and the Moral/Conventional Distinction. Mind and Language 22 (2):117–131.
Tiziana Zalla, Luca Barlassina, Marine Buon & Marion Leboyer (2011). Moral Judgment in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Cognition 121 (1):115-126.
Jeremy Randel Koons (2003). Why Response-Dependence Theories of Morality Are False. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (3):275 - 294.
Jeremy Randel Koons (2003). Why Response-Dependence Theories of Morality Are False. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (3):275-294.
Chiara Lisciandra, Matteo Colombo & Marie Nilsenova (2013). Conformorality. A Study on Group Conditioning of Normative Judgment. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (4):1-14.
Louis C. Charland (1995). Feeling and Representing: Computational Theory and the Modularity of Affect. Synthese 105 (3):273-301.
Shaun Nichols (2004). After Objectivity: An Empirical Study of Moral Judgment. Philosophical Psychology 17 (1):3 – 26.
Daniel Kelly & Stephen Stich (2008). Two Theories About the Cognitive Architecture Underlying Morality. In P. Carruthers, S. Stich & S. Laurence (eds.), The Innate Mind, Vol. III, Foundations and the Future. Oxford University Press.
Judith G. Smetana (1999). The Role of Parents in Moral Development: A Social Domain Analysis. Journal of Moral Education 28 (3):311-321.
David W. Shoemaker (2011). Psychopathy, Responsibility, and the Moral/Conventional Distinction. Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):99-124.
Thomas Holden (2007). Hume on Religious Affect. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89 (3):283-306.
Luca Malatesti (2009). Moral Understanding in the Psychopath. Synthesis Philosophica 24 (2):337-348.
Added to index2012-04-03
Total downloads29 ( #50,815 of 1,088,874 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #69,661 of 1,088,874 )
How can I increase my downloads?