Moral Judgment

Edited by Leonard Kahn (Loyola University, New Orleans)
About this topic
Summary Internalism and Externalism about Moral Judgment are, very roughly, contending views about the relationship between making a moral judgment and being motivated to act in accordance with it. Internalists - again, quite roughly - hold that there is a necessary connection between making a moral judgment and being motivated to act appropriately. Externalists deny that the connection is necessary and hold that it is, instead, merely contingent. 
Key works In many ways, Michael Smith's The Moral Problem is the both the most important work on moral judgment and the best place for someone interested in the topic to begin thinking seriously. Smith, better than anyone else, sets out the problems which have dominated the philosophical agenda on moral judgment for the last two decades and presents a novel and powerful cognitivist, Humean, internalist solution to these problems. R.M. Hare's The Language of Morals offers the classic non-cogntivist statement of internalism, while David O. Brink's Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics provides a persuasive case for cognitivist externalism and Jonathan Dancy's Moral Reasons argues for cognitivist non-Humeanism. Dancy's work draws in important ways from Thomas Nagel's The Possibility of Altruism, and Russ Shafer-Landau's Moral Realism: A Defense is a worthwhile follow up on both works. Those who wish to approach the problem from a more historical direction may wish to begin with Book III of David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature, Immanuel Kant's Critique of Practical Reason, and Chapter III of John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism. A more recent work which finds deep inspiration from Kant's work on moral motivation is Christine Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity.
Introductions Connie Rosati, "Moral Motivation," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Michael Smith, The Moral Problem, especially Chapter 3 Alex Miller, An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics, , especially Chapter 3
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  1. Rawls’s Justification Model for Ethics: What Exactly Does It Justify?Necip Fikri Alican - 2017 - Humanitas (Journal of the National Humanities Institute) 30 (1/2):112–147.
    John Rawls is famous for two things: his attempt to ground morality in rationality and his conception of justice as fairness. He has developed and polished both in conjunction over the course of half a century. Yet the moral principles he advocates have always been more doctrinaire than the corresponding justification model should have ever allowed with design details explicitly promising objectivity. This article goes to the beginning, or to a reasonable proxy for it, in the “Outline of a Decision (...)
  2. Geach on 'Know' in 'If' Clauses.D. R. Altmann - 1973 - Analysis 33 (5):174 - 175.
  3. Practical Reasoning and Moral Judgment.Robert Audi - 2011 - Analytica 5:94-111.
    Russian translation of the Chpater 9 of Audi R. Practical Reasoning and Ethical Decision. – London, N. Y., 2006. Translated by Andrei Zavaliy with kind permission of the author.
  4. Practical Reasoning and Ethical Decision.Robert Audi - 2005 - Routledge.
    Presenting the most comprehensive and lucid account of the topic currently available, Robert Audi's "Practical Reasoning and Ethical Decision" is essential reading for anyone interested in the role of reason in ethics or the nature of human action. The first part of the book is a detailed critical overview of the influential theories of practical reasoning found in Aristotle, Hume and Kant, whilst the second part examines practical reasoning in the light of important topics in moral psychology - weakness of (...)
  5. Moral Judgment and Reasons for Action.Robert Audi - 1997 - In Garrett Cullity & Berys Nigel Gaut (eds.), Ethics and Practical Reason. Oxford University Press. pp. 125--160.
  6. Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reason, Simon Blackburn. Clarendon Press, 1998, 344 Pages. [REVIEW]Eric Barnes - 2000 - Economics and Philosophy 16 (2):372-378.
  7. Constructivism and Practical Reason in Rawls.Kenneth Baynes - 1992 - Analyse & Kritik 14 (1):18-32.
    This essay argues that Rawls's recent constructivist approach waivers between a relativist defense and a more Kantian account which grounds his conception of justice in the idea of an agreement between free and equal moral persons. It is suggested that this ambiguity lies at the center of his attempt to provide a "political not metaphysical" account which is also not "political in the wrong way".
  8. On Justifying Moral Judgements.Lawrence C. Becker - 1973 - New York: Routledge.
    Reissue of Becker's 1973 monograph, which argues the following: Much discussion of morality presupposes that moral judgments are always, at bottom, arbitrary. Moral scepticism, or at least moral relativism, has become common currency among the liberally educated. This remains the case even while political crises become intractable, and it is increasingly apparent that the scope of public policy formulated with no reference to moral justification is extremely limited. The thesis of _On Justifying Moral Judgments_ insists, on the contrary, that rigorous (...)
  9. Delineating The Moral Domain in Moral Psychology.Renatas Berniūnas - 2014 - Problemos 86:90-101.
    The aim of this paper is to review current debate about the moral domain in the moral psychological literature. There is some vagueness in respect to the usage of the very concept of ‘morality’. This conceptual problem recently has been re-addressed by several authors. So far, there is little agreement, nobody seems to agree about how to delineate the moral domain from other ‘non-moral’ normative domains. Currently, there are several positions that disagree about the scope of morality, ranging from complete (...)
  10. Are There Different Moral Domains? Evidence From Mongolia.Renatas Berniūnas, Vilius Dranseika & Paulo Sousa - 2016 - Asian Journal of Social Psychology 19:275–282.
    In this paper we report a study conducted in Mongolia on the scope of morality, that is, the extent to which people moralize different social domains. Following Turiel’s moral-conventional task, we characterized moral transgressions (in contrast to conventional transgressions) in terms of two dimensions: authority independence and generality of scope. Different moral domains are then defined by grouping such moral transgressions in terms of their content (following Haidt’s classification of morally relevant domains). There are four main results of the study. (...)
  11. Moral Imagination, Perception, and Judgment.Mavis Biss - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (1):1-21.
    This paper develops an account of moral imagination that identifies the ways in which imaginative capacities contribute to our ability to make reason practical in the world, beyond their roles in moral perception and moral judgment. In section 1, I explain my understanding of what it means to qualify imagination as ‘moral,’ and go on in section 2 to identify four main conceptions of moral imagination as an aspect of practical reason in philosophical ethics. I briefly situate these alternative ideas (...)
  12. Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reason.Simon Blackburn - 2001 - Philosophical Quarterly 51 (202):110-114.
  13. Gibbard on Normative Logic.Simon Blackburn - 1992 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):947-952.
  14. The Practicality of Moral Judgments.John R. Boatright - 1973 - Philosophical Quarterly 23 (93):316-334.
  15. The Constitution of Agency: Essays on Practical Reason and Moral Psychology.Johan Brännmark - unknown
  16. Review: Cognitivism About Practical Reason. [REVIEW]Michael E. Bratman - 1991 - Ethics 102 (1):117 - 128.
  17. Moral Obligation and Everyday Advice.Bob Brecher - 2005 - South African Journal of Philosophy 24 (2):109-120.
    A major obstacle in the way of any rationalistic understanding of morality is that the moral ‘ought' obliges action: and on the (neo-)Humean view, action is thought to require affect. If, however, one could show that “ordinary” practical reasons are by themselves action-guiding, then moral reasons – a particular sort of practical reasons – also have no need of desire to “move” us to act. So how does the practical ‘ought' work? To answer that, we need to ask what exactly (...)
  18. The Use of Reason in Morals.Bruce W. Brotherston - 1946 - Journal of Philosophy 43 (21):561-572.
  19. Moral Judgments, Emotions, and Some Expectations From Moral Motivation.Mar Cabezas - 2011 - Public Reason 3 (1).
  20. Getting Into the Game of Tradition-Constituted Moral Inquiry.Nathan Carson - 2014 - International Philosophical Quarterly 54 (1):25-42.
    The early work of Alasdair MacIntyre aims to provide resources to “fragmented” modern selves for adjudicating “incommensurable” claims of rival moral traditions and for committing to one with full allegiance. But MacIntyre seems to undermine rational choice through his thesis of Rational Particularism, namely, that there is no tradition-independent, universally acceptable rational standpoint from which to evaluate competing claims of rival traditions. In this paper I combat a prevalent argument that his Particularism thesis render the choice of tradition allegiance by (...)
  21. Amoris laetitia, à la lumière de la clarté.Tristan Casabianca - manuscript
    L’exhortation apostolique Amoris laetitia contient de nombreuses ambiguïtés, notamment concernant l’accès à la communion des divorcés civilement remariés, dont elle refuse de trancher explicitement la question à la lumière de la doctrine de l’Eglise Catholique. Ce manque de clarté est préjudiciable. Il est susceptible d’être utilisé à l’encontre du Magistère. Il est également révélateur d’une approche philosophique occidentale marquée par l’individualisme et le relativisme. Or cette approche est de plus en plus contestée par l’actuelle « révolution conservatrice ». -/- The (...)
  22. Narratives of Responsibility and Agency: Reading Margaret Walker's Moral Understandings.Lorraine Code - 2002 - Hypatia 17 (1):156-173.
    Naturalized moral epistemology eschews practices of assuming to know a priori the nature of situations and experiences that require moral deliberation. Thus it promises to close a gap between formal ethical theories and circumstances where people need guidelines for action. Yet according experience so central a place in inquiry risks "naturalizing" it, treating it as incontestable, separating its moral and political dimensions. This essay discusses these issues with reference to Margaret Walker's Moral understandings.
  23. Evaluative Judgement, Motivation and the Moral Standard.Richard Corrigan - 2008 - Philosophy Pathways 133.
  24. Distinguishing the Roles of Causal and Intentional Analyses in Moral Judgment.Fiery Cushman - manuscript
  25. Evaluation as Practical Judgment.Jean De Munck & Bénédicte Zimmermann - 2015 - Human Studies 38 (1):113-135.
    What does evaluation mean? This article examines the evaluative process as a practical judgment that links a situation to a set of values in order to decide upon a course of action. It starts by discussing A. Sen’s “relational” and “comparative” account of evaluation, built in critical dialogue with J. Rawls’ deductive theory. Comparison, incompleteness, reality, and deliberation are the key principles of Sen’s approach, which, in some respects, echoes that of J. Dewey. The second part shows the relevance of (...)
  26. Affective Intuition and Rule Deployment: The Dénouement of Moral Judgment.Sharmistha Dhar - 2010 - International Journal on Humanistic Ideology 3 (1):141-152.
    What faculty of our mind is best suited to endow us with all that is required to carry forth our moral enterprise? In other words, what are the cognitive resources that subserve the moral mind? This is a core empirical question, raised much to the delight of the investigative inquisitiveness of the moral psychologists. But the philosophical connection to this problem can be traced back to as far in time as that of Plato the main tenet of whose tripartite theory (...)
  27. Affective Intuition and Rule Deployment: The Dénouement of Moral Judgment.Sharmisths Dhar - 2010 - INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ON HUMANISTIC IDEOLOGY STUDIES INTO THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF HUMANISTIC IDEAS 3 (1):141-152.
    What faculty of our mind is best suited to endow us with all that is required to carry forth our moral enterprise? In other words, what are the cognitive resources that subserve the moral mind? This is a core empirical question, raised much to the delight of the investigative inquisitiveness of the moral psychologists. But the philosophical connection to this problem can be traced back to as far in time as that of Plato the main tenet of whose tripartite theory (...)
  28. The Form of Practical Knowledge: A Study of the Categorical Imperative.Stephen Engstrom - 2009 - Harvard University Press.
    Introduction -- Part I: Willing as practical knowing -- The will and practical judgment -- Fundamental practical judgments : the wish for happiness -- Part II: From presuppositions of judgment to the idea of a categorical imperative -- The formal presuppositions of practical judgment -- Constraints on willing -- Part III: Interpretation -- The categorical imperative -- Applications -- Conclusion.
  29. The Small Improvement Argument.Nicolas Espinoza - 2008 - Synthese 165 (1):127 - 139.
    It is commonly assumed that moral deliberation requires that the alternatives available in a choice situation are evaluatively comparable. This comparability assumption is threatened by claims of incomparability, which is often established by means of the small improvement argument (SIA). In this paper I argue that SIA does not establish incomparability in a stricter sense. The reason is that it fails to distinguish incomparability from a kind of evaluative indeterminacy which may arise due to the vagueness of the evaluative comparatives (...)
  30. Che cosa sono le etiche applicate? Tre problemi preliminari.Fabio Fossa - 2018 - Etica E Politica (2):433-466.
    Lo scopo di questo saggio consiste nell’individuare un punto di partenza adeguato per lo sviluppo di una teoria filosofica delle etiche applicate, cioè di un discorso che si assuma il compito di comprendere che cosa siano le etiche applicate, quali siano le loro strutture principali, in che cosa consista la loro novità e quale significato esse rivestano nei confronti del pensiero morale. Un approccio organico e unitario a questi temi, tuttavia, non è ancora stato impostato. Per questo motivo si rende (...)
  31. Judicial Decision and Practical Judgment.Morris Gall - 1947 - Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):51-52.
  32. Nietzsche on Mirth and Morality.Trip Glazer - 2017 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 34 (1):79-97.
    Beginning in The Gay Science, Nietzsche repeatedly exhorts his readers to laugh. But why? I argue that Nietzsche wants us to laugh because the emotion that laughter expresses, mirth, plays an important psychological-cum-epistemological role in his attack on traditional morality. I contend that Nietzsche views mirth as an attitude that is uniquely suited to rooting out beliefs that have covertly infiltrated our psychologies. And given that Nietzsche considers morality to be insidious, or to maintain its hold over us even after (...)
  33. Morality Based on Cognition in Primates.S. Guth & W. Guth - 2000 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (1-2):1-2.
    Traditional evolutionary biology views animal behaviour as based on instincts that leave no room for deliberated morality. In their informative essay, Jessica Flack and Frans de Waal provide convincing evidence that monkeys and, even more so, apes often cognitively perceive the physical and emotional needs of others and that they try to help others, e.g. by consolation or sharing food. We mainly discuss aspects neglected by Flack and de Waal, such as how morality can be clearly defined and whether it (...)
  34. Speaking for Others: Epistemology and Ethics.Dan Haggerty - 2009 - Social Philosophy Today 25:109-122.
    In this paper, I explore risks and responsibilities associated with speaking for others. I argue that, contrary to the recent philosophical literature on the subject, speaking for others is not always epistemically or politically illegitimate. Moreover, epistemological justification is not the only important consideration when trying to determine if we should speak for others. Ethical justification also matters and can override epistemological worries. Indeed, sometimes we should speak for others though we cannot know their experience. I identify and evaluate five (...)
  35. A Dissociation Between Moral Judgments and Justifications.Marc Hauser, Fiery Cushman, Liane Young, J. I. N. Kang-Xing & John Mikhail - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (1):1–21.
    To what extent do moral judgments depend on conscious reasoning from explicitly understood principles? We address this question by investigating one particular moral principle, the principle of the double effect. Using web-based technology, we collected a large data set on individuals' responses to a series of moral dilemmas, asking when harm to innocent others is permissible. Each moral dilemma presented a choice between action and inaction, both resulting in lives saved and lives lost. Results showed that: (1) patterns of moral (...)
  36. John Dewey's Ethics in the Light of Contemporary Metaethical Theory: An Analysis and Interpretation of His Account of the Nature of Moral Judgments.Robert Lawrence Holmes - 1961 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
  37. What is Wrong With Moral Testimony?Robert Hopkins - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (3):611-634.
    Is it legitimate to acquire one’s moral beliefs on the testimony of others? The pessimist about moral testimony says not. But what is the source of the difficulty? Here pessimists have a choice. On the Unavailability view, moral testimony never makes knowledge available to the recipient. On Unusability accounts, although moral testimony can make knowledge available, some further norm renders it illegitimate to make use of the knowledge thus offered. I suggest that Unusability accounts provide the strongest form of pessimist (...)
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  38. The Role of Character in Moral Judgments.Douglas Huff - 1998 - Cogito 12 (1):65-70.
  39. Desire, Judgment, and Reason: Exploring the Path Not Taken.Paul Hurley - 2007 - The Journal of Ethics 11 (4):437-463.
    At the outset of The Possibility of Altruism Thomas Nagel charts two paths out of the fundamental dilemma confronting metaethics. The first path rejects the claim that a persuasive account of the motivational backing of ethical judgments must involve an agent’s desires. But it is the second path, a path that Nagel charts but does not himself take, that is the focus of this essay. This path retains the standard account, upon which all motivation involves desire, but denies that desires (...)
  40. P. T. Geach, "Reason and Argument". [REVIEW]Nichols Ingham - 1977 - The Thomist 41 (4):625.
  41. Piotr Tomasz Geach.Jacek Jadacki - 2014 - Przeglad Filozoficzny - Nowa Seria 91.
  42. Cognitive Load Selectively Interferes with Utilitarian Moral Judgment.Jonathan D. Cohen Joshua D. Greene, Sylvia A. Morelli, Kelly Lowenberg, Leigh E. Nystrom - 2008 - Cognition 107 (3):1144.
  43. If Nothing Matters.Guy Kahane - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):327-353.
    The possibility that nothing really matters can cause much anxiety, but what would it mean for that to be true? Since it couldn’t be bad that nothing matters, fearing nihilism makes little sense. However, the consequences of belief in nihilism will be far more dramatic than often thought. Many metaethicists assume that even if nothing matters, we should, and would, go on more or less as before. But if nihilism is true in an unqualified way, it can’t be the case (...)
  44. Beyond Sacrificial Harm: A Two-Dimensional Model of Utilitarian Psychology.Guy Kahane, Jim A. C. Everett, Brian D. Earp, Lucius Caviola, Nadira S. Faber, Molly J. Crockett & Julian Savulescu - 2018 - Psychological Review 125 (2):131-164.
    Recent research has relied on trolley-type sacrificial moral dilemmas to study utilitarian versus nonutili- tarian modes of moral decision-making. This research has generated important insights into people’s attitudes toward instrumental harm—that is, the sacrifice of an individual to save a greater number. But this approach also has serious limitations. Most notably, it ignores the positive, altruistic core of utilitarianism, which is characterized by impartial concern for the well-being of everyone, whether near or far. Here, we develop, refine, and validate a (...)
  45. Analytic and Synthetic Moral Judgments.Jack Kaminsky - 1949 - Journal of Philosophy 46 (22):693-702.
  46. Multiplicity of Emotions in Moral Judgment and Motivation.Ulas Kaplan & Terrence Tivnan - 2014 - Ethics and Behavior 24 (6):421-443.
  47. Moral Beliefs and Moral Motivation.Andrew Kernohan - 2010 - Journal of Value Inquiry 44 (4):447-459.
  48. Beyond Frege-Geach: Neglected Problems for Expressivism.Sebastian Köhler - unknown
    This thesis is about the viability of meta-normative expressivism. On what I take to be the dominant conception of the view, it subscribes to two theses. First, that the meaning of sentences is to be explained in terms of the mental states these sentences conventionally express. Second, that there is a fundamental difference in the roles of the states expressed by normative sentences and the states expressed by descriptive sentences: descriptive sentences, according to expressivists, express mental states which are representational (...)
  49. Moral Sensitivity and Desire Attachment: In What Sense Are They Constituents of One's Rational Profile? [REVIEW]Aristophanes Koutoungos - 2008 - Acta Analytica 23 (2):125-145.
    A quantitative interpretation is given of the (in)coherence that moral agents experience as a tension between their ordered moral judgments over n physically incompatible actions, and the competitive ordering of motivating intensities (or, desires). Then a model describing one’s tendency to reduce the experienced in-coherence is constructed. In this model, moral sensitivity (S) and desire attachment (e) function as primitives that motivate from opposing perspectives the reduction of incoherence. Two distinct sub-processes of this reduction are therefore initiated by (S) and (...)
  50. Constructivism and the Problem of Normative Indeterminacy.Yair Levy - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-11.
    I describe a new problem for metaethical constructivism. The problem arises when agents make conflicting judgments, so that the constructivist is implausibly committed to denying they have any reason for any of the available options. The problem is illustrated primarily with reference to Sharon Street’s version of constructivism. Several possible solutions to the problem are explained and rejected.
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