Is Morality Unified? Evidence that Distinct Neural Systems Underlie Moral Judgments of Harm, Dishonesty, and Disgust.
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Carolyn Parkinson, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Philipp E. Koralus, Angela Mendelovici, Victoria McGeer & Thalia Wheatley
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 23 (10):3162-3180 (2011)
Much recent research has sought to uncover the neural basis of moral judgment. However, it has remained unclear whether "moral judgments" are sufficiently homogenous to be studied scientifically as a unified category. We tested this assumption by using fMRI to examine the neural correlates of moral judgments within three moral areas: (physical) harm, dishonesty, and (sexual) disgust. We found that the judgment ofmoral wrongness was subserved by distinct neural systems for each of the different moral areas and that these differences were much more robust than differences in wrongness judgments within a moral area. Dishonest, disgusting, and harmful moral transgression recruited networks of brain regions associated with mentalizing, affective processing, and action understanding, respectively. Dorsal medial pFC was the only region activated by all scenarios judged to be morally wrong in comparison with neutral scenarios. However, this region was also activated by dishonest and harmful scenarios judged not to be morally wrong, suggestive of a domain-general role that is neither peculiar to nor predictive of moral decisions. These results suggest that moral judgment is not a wholly unified faculty in the human brain, but rather, instantiated in dissociable neural systems that are engaged differentially depending on the type of transgression being judged.
|Keywords||moral psychology moral judgments neural basis of moral judgments unity of morality|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Angelika Seidel & Jesse Prinz (2013). Sound Morality: Irritating and Icky Noises Amplify Judgments in Divergent Moral Domains. Cognition 127 (1):1-5.
Similar books and articles
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Thalia Wheatley (2014). Are Moral Judgments Unified? Philosophical Psychology 27 (4):451-474.
Guy Kahane, Katja Wiech, Nicholas Shackel, Miguel Farias, Julian Savulescu & Irene Tracey (2012). The Neural Basis of Intuitive and Counterintuitive Moral Judgement. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 7 (4):393-402.
Frederik Kaufman (1992). Moral Realism and Moral Judgments. Erkenntnis 36 (1):103 - 112.
Bryce Huebner, Susan Dwyer & Marc D. Hauser (2009). The Role of Emotion in Moral Psychology. Trends in Cognitive Science 13 (1):1-6.
Liane Young, Shaun Nichols & Rebecca Saxe (2010). Investigating the Neural and Cognitive Basis of Moral Luck. [REVIEW] Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3):333-349.
G. Abend (2013). What the Science of Morality Doesn't Say About Morality. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (2):157-200.
Joshua Knobe & Ben Fraser (2008). Causal Judgment and Moral Judgment: Two Experiments. In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology. MIT Press.
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2008). Is Moral Phenomenology Unified? Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):85-97.
Fiery Cushman (2008). Crime and Punishment: Distinguishing the Roles of Causal and Intentional Analyses in Moral Judgment. Cognition 108 (2):353-380.
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2011). Emotion and Reliability in Moral Psychology. Emotion Review 3 (3):288-289.
Alexandra Plakias (2013). The Good and the Gross. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):261-278.
Jesse J. Prinz (2006). The Emotional Basis of Moral Judgments. Philosophical Explorations 9 (1):29-43.
Kyle Swan (2004). Moral Judgment and Emotions. Journal of Value Inquiry 38 (3):375-381.
Added to index2011-10-10
Total downloads100 ( #15,201 of 1,692,175 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #47,729 of 1,692,175 )
How can I increase my downloads?