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Selim Berker (2009). The Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience.

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  1.  49
    Deontology Defended.Nora Heinzelmann - forthcoming - Synthese 195 (5).
    Empirical research into moral decision-making is often taken to have normative implications. For instance, in his recent book, Greene (2013) relies on empirical findings to establish utilitarianism as a superior normative ethical theory. Kantian ethics, and deontological ethics more generally, is a rival view that Greene attacks. At the heart of Greene’s argument against deontology is the claim that deontological moral judgments are the product of certain emotions and not of reason. Deontological ethics is a mere rationalization of these emotions. (...)
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  2.  27
    Evolutionary Skepticism About Morality and Prudential Normativity.Peter Königs - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-18.
    Debunking arguments aim at defeating the justification of a belief by revealing the belief to have a dubious genealogy. One prominent example of such a debunking argument is Richard Joyce’s evolutionary debunking explanation of morality. Joyce’s argument targets only our belief in moral facts, while our belief in prudential facts is exempt from his evolutionary critique. In this paper, I suggest that our belief in prudential facts falls victim to evolutionary debunking, too. Just as our moral sense can be explained (...)
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  3.  33
    In Defense of Best-Explanation Debunking Arguments in Moral Philosophy.Jonathon Hricko & Derek Leben - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (1):143-160.
    We aim to develop a form of debunking argument according to which an agent’s belief is undermined if the reasons she gives in support of her belief are best explained as rationalizations. This approach is a more sophisticated form of what Shaun Nichols has called best-explanation debunking, which he contrasts with process debunking, i.e., debunking by means of showing that a belief has been generated by an epistemically defective process. In order to develop our approach, we identify an example of (...)
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  4.  21
    On the Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience and Dual-Process Theory.Peter Königs - 2018 - Neuroethics 11 (2):195-209.
    According to the dual-process account of moral judgment, deontological and utilitarian judgments stem from two different cognitive systems. Deontological judgments are effortless, intuitive and emotion-driven, whereas utilitarian judgments are effortful, reasoned and dispassionate. The most notable evidence for dual-process theory comes from neuroimaging studies by Joshua Greene and colleagues. Greene has suggested that these empirical findings undermine deontology and support utilitarianism. It has been pointed out, however, that the most promising interpretation of his argument does not make use of the (...)
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  5.  4
    Neuroethik – Geschichte, Definition Und Gegenstandsbereich Eines Neuen WissenschaftsgebietsNeuroethics—History, Definition, and Scope of a New Field of Science.Sabine Müller, Merlin Bittlinger, Kirsten Brukamp, Markus Christen, Orsolya Friedrich, Malte-C. Gruber, Jon Leefmann, Grischa Merkel, Saskia K. Nagel, Marco Stier & Ralf J. Jox - 2018 - Ethik in der Medizin 30 (2):91-106.
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  6. The Evolution of Retribution: Intuitions Undermined.Isaac Wiegman - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2):490-510.
    Recent empirical work suggests that emotions are responsible for anti-consequentialist intuitions. For instance, anger places value on actions of revenge and retribution, value not derived from the consequences of these actions. As a result, it contributes to the development of retributive intuitions. I argue that if anger evolved to produce these retributive intuitions because of their biological consequences, then these intuitions are not a good indicator that punishment has value apart from its consequences. This severs the evidential connection between retributive (...)
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  7. Is Deontology a Moral Confabulation?Emilian Mihailov - 2016 - Neuroethics 9 (1):1-13.
    Joshua Greene has put forward the bold empirical hypothesis that deontology is a confabulation of moral emotions. Deontological philosophy does not steam from "true" moral reasoning, but from emotional reactions, backed up by post hoc rationalizations which play no role in generating the initial moral beliefs. In this paper, I will argue against the confabulation hypothesis. First, I will highlight several points in Greene’s discussion of confabulation, and identify two possible models. Then, I will argue that the evidence does not (...)
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  8.  81
    Debunking Debunking: A Regress Challenge for Psychological Threats to Moral Judgment.Regina A. Rini - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (3):675-697.
    This paper presents a regress challenge to the selective psychological debunking of moral judgments. A selective psychological debunking argument conjoins an empirical claim about the psychological origins of certain moral judgments to a theoretical claim that these psychological origins cannot track moral truth, leading to the conclusion that the moral judgments are unreliable. I argue that psychological debunking arguments are vulnerable to a regress challenge, because the theoretical claim that ‘such-and-such psychological process is not moral-truth-tracking’ relies upon moral judgments. We (...)
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  9.  34
    What Can Neuroscience Contribute to the Debate Over Nudging?Gidon Felsen & Peter B. Reiner - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (3):469-479.
    Strategies for improving individual decision making have attracted attention from a range of disciplines. Surprisingly, neuroscience has been largely absent from this conversation, despite the fact that it has recently begun illuminating the neural bases of how and why we make decisions, and is poised for further such advances. Here we address empirical and normative questions about “nudging” through the lens of neuroscience. We suggest that the neuroscience of decision making can provide a framework for understanding how nudges work, and (...)
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  10.  3
    Experimental Economics as a Method for Normative Business Ethics.Pedro Francés-Gómez, Lorenzo Sacconi & Marco Faillo - 2015 - Business Ethics: A European Review 24:S41-S53.
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  11.  66
    How Neuroscience Can Vindicate Moral Intuition.Christopher Freiman - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (5):1011-1025.
    Imagine that an anthropologist returns from her study of a group of people and reports the following:They refuse to kill one person even to avert the death of all involved—including that one person;They won’t directly push someone to his death to save the lives of five others, but they will push a lever to kill him to save five others;They punish transgressors because it feels right, even when they expect the punishment to cause far more harm than good—and even when (...)
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  12.  69
    Self-Ownership and Disgust: Why Compulsory Body Part Redistribution Gets Under Our Skin.Christopher Freiman & Adam Lerner - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3167-3190.
    The self-ownership thesis asserts, roughly, that agents own their minds and bodies in the same way that they can own extra-personal property. One common strategy for defending the self-ownership thesis is to show that it accords with our intuitions about the wrongness of various acts involving the expropriation of body parts. We challenge this line of defense. We argue that disgust explains our resistance to these sorts of cases and present results from an original psychological experiment in support of this (...)
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  13.  43
    Brains, Trolleys, and Intuitions: Defending Deontology From the Greene/Singer Argument.C. D. Meyers - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (4):466-486.
    Joshua Greene and Peter Singer argue, on the basis of empirical evidence, that deontological moral judgments result from emotional reactions while dispassionate reasoning leads to consequentialist judgments. Given that there are good reasons to doubt these emotionally driven intuitions, they argue that we should reject Kantian ethics. I argue that the evidence does not support the claim that consequentialism is inherently more reason-based or less emotion-based than Kantian ethics. This is partly because the experiments employ a functional definition of ‘deontological’ (...)
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  14.  32
    Feedback From Moral Philosophy to Cognitive Science.Regina A. Rini - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (4):569-588.
    A popular argument form uses general theories of cognitive architecture to motivate conclusions about the nature of moral cognition. This paper highlights the possibility for modus tollens reversal of this argument form. If theories of cognitive architecture generate predictions for moral cognition, then tests of moral thinking provide feedback to cognitive science. In certain circumstances, philosophers' introspective attention to their own moral deliberations can provide unique data for these tests. Recognizing the possibility for this sort of feedback helps to illuminate (...)
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  15.  11
    Are Thoughtful People More Utilitarian? CRT as a Unique Predictor of Moral Minimalism in the Dilemmatic Context.Edward B. Royzman, Justin F. Landy & Robert F. Leeman - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (2):325-352.
    Recent theorizing about the cognitive underpinnings of dilemmatic moral judgment has equated slow, deliberative thinking with the utilitarian disposition and fast, automatic thinking with the deontological disposition. However, evidence for the reflective utilitarian hypothesis—the hypothesized link between utilitarian judgment and individual differences in the capacity for rational reflection has been inconsistent and difficult to interpret in light of several design flaws. In two studies aimed at addressing some of the flaws, we found robust evidence for a reflective minimalist hypothesis—high CRT (...)
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  16.  43
    Can’T We All Disagree More Constructively? Moral Foundations, Moral Reasoning, and Political Disagreement.Hanno Sauer - 2015 - Neuroethics 8 (2):153-169.
    Can’t we all disagree more constructively? Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in political partisanship: the 2013 shutdown of the US government as well as an ever more divided political landscape in Europe illustrate that citizens and representatives of developed nations fundamentally disagree over virtually every significant issue of public policy, from immigration to health care, from the regulation of financial markets to climate change, from drug policies to medical procedures. The emerging field of political psychology brings the tools (...)
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  17.  72
    No Need for Alarm: A Critical Analysis of Greene’s Dual-Process Theory of Moral Decision-Making.Robyn Bluhm - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (3):299-316.
    Joshua Greene and his colleagues have proposed a dual-process theory of moral decision-making to account for the effects of emotional responses on our judgments about moral dilemmas that ask us to contemplate causing direct personal harm. Early formulations of the theory contrast emotional and cognitive decision-making, saying that each is the product of a separable neural system. Later formulations emphasize that emotions are also involved in cognitive processing. I argue that, given the acknowledgement that emotions inform cognitive decision-making, a single-process (...)
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  18.  80
    The Science of Morality and its Normative Implications.Tommaso Bruni, Matteo Mameli & Regina A. Rini - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (2):159-172.
    Neuromoral theorists are those who claim that a scientific understanding of moral judgment through the methods of psychology, neuroscience and related disciplines can have normative implications and can be used to improve the human ability to make moral judgments. We consider three neuromoral theories: one suggested by Gazzaniga, one put forward by Gigerenzer, and one developed by Greene. By contrasting these theories we reveal some of the fundamental issues that neuromoral theories in general have to address. One important issue concerns (...)
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  19.  97
    Does Empirical Moral Psychology Rest on a Mistake?Patrick Clipsham - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (2):215-233.
    Many philosophers assume that philosophical theories about the psychological nature of moral judgment can be confirmed or disconfirmed by the kind of evidence gathered by natural and social scientists (especially experimental psychologists and neuroscientists). I argue that this assumption is mistaken. For the most part, empirical evidence can do no work in these philosophical debates, as the metaphorical heavy-lifting is done by the pre-experimental assumptions that make it possible to apply empirical data to these philosophical debates. For the purpose of (...)
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  20.  66
    Taking Stock of Utilitarianism.Roger Crisp - 2014 - Utilitas 26 (3):231-249.
    This article is an attempt to take an overview of the current position of utilitarian theory. It begins by providing a definition of utilitarianism as it is found in the works of Bentham, Mill and Sidgwick. These authors are all interpreted as intuitionists. It is claimed that the main rivals to utilitarianism are egoism on the one hand, and reflective non-egoistic pluralism, as found in the work of Ross, on the other. The significance of disagreement between proponents of these views (...)
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  21.  20
    Global Justice and Charity: A Brief for a New Approach to Empirical Philosophy.Nicole Hassoun - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (12):884-893.
    What does global justice or charity requires us to give to other people? There is a large theoretical literature on this question. There is much less experimental work in political philosophy relevant to answering it. Perhaps for this reason, this literature has yet to have any major impact on theoretical discussions of global justice or charity. There is, however, some experimental research in behavioral economics that has helped to shape the field and a few relevant studies by political philosophers. This (...)
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  22. Moral Judgment and Deontology: Empirical Developments.Joshua May - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (11):745-755.
    A traditional idea is that moral judgment involves more than calculating the consequences of actions; it also requires an assessment of the agent's intentions, the act's nature, and whether the agent uses another person as a means to her ends. I survey experimental developments suggesting that ordinary people often tacitly reason in terms of such deontological rules. It's now unclear whether we should posit a traditional form of the doctrine of double effect. However, further research suggests that a range of (...)
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  23.  59
    It’s the Knobe Effect, Stupid!Hanno Sauer - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (4):485-503.
    People asymmetrically attribute various agential features such as intentionality, knowledge, or causal impact to other agents when something of normative significance is at stake. I will argue that three questions are of primary interest in the debate about this effect. A methodological question about how to explain it at all; a substantive question about how to explain it correctly: and a normative question about whether to explain it in terms of an error or a legitimate judgmental pattern. The problem, I (...)
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  24. Experimental Attacks on Intuitions and Answers.John Bengson - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):495-532.
  25.  85
    Intuitions, Evidence and Hopefulness.Jessica Brown - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2021-2046.
    Experimental philosophers have recently conducted surveys of folk judgements about a range of phenomena of interest to philosophy including knowledge, reference, and free will. Some experimental philosophers take these results to undermine the philosophical practice of appealing to intuitions as evidence. I consider several different replies to the suggestion that these results undermine philosophical appeal to intuition, both piecemeal replies which raise concerns about particular surveys, and more general replies. The general replies include the suggestions that the surveys consider the (...)
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  26. The Armchair and the Trolley: An Argument for Experimental Ethics.Guy Kahane - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):421-445.
    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 (...)
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  27.  53
    Making Psychology Normatively Significant.Regina A. Rini - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (3):257-274.
    The debate between proponents and opponents of a role for empirical psychology in ethical theory seems to be deadlocked. This paper aims to clarify the terms of that debate, and to defend a principled middle position. I argue against extreme views, which see empirical psychology either as irrelevant to, or as wholly displacing, reflective moral inquiry. Instead, I argue that moral theorists of all stripes are committed to a certain conception of moral thought—as aimed at abstracting away from individual inclinations (...)
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  28.  43
    Chairmen, Cocaine, and Car Crashes: The Knobe Effect as an Attribution Error.Hanno Sauer & Tom Bates - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (4):305-330.
    In this paper, we argue that the so-called Knobe-Effect constitutes an error. There is now a wealth of data confirming that people are highly prone to what has also come to be known as the ‘side-effect effect’. That is, when attributing psychological states—such as intentionality, foreknowledge, and desiring—as well as other agential features—such as causal control—people typically do so to a greater extent when the action under consideration is evaluated negatively. There are a plethora of models attempting to account for (...)
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  29. Unequal Vividness and Double Effect.Neil Sinhababu - 2013 - Utilitas 25 (3):291-315.
    I argue that the Doctrine of Double Effect is accepted because of unreliable processes of belief-formation, making it unacceptably likely to be mistaken. We accept the doctrine because we more vividly imagine intended consequences of our actions than merely foreseen ones, making our aversions to the intended harms more violent, and making us judge that producing the intended harms is morally worse. This explanation fits psychological evidence from Schnall and others, and recent neuroscientific research from Greene, Klein, Kahane, and Schaich (...)
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  30. On the Wrong Track: Process and Content in Moral Psychology.Guy Kahane - 2012 - Mind and Language 27 (5):519-545.
    According to Joshua Greene’s influential dual process model of moral judgment, different modes of processing are associated with distinct moral outputs: automatic processing with deontological judgment, and controlled processing with utilitarian judgment. This paper aims to clarify and assess Greene’s model. I argue that the proposed tie between process and content is based on a misinterpretation of the evidence, and that the supposed evidence for controlled processing in utilitarian judgment is actually likely to reflect generic deliberation which, ironically, is incompatible (...)
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  31. On the Normative Significance of Experimental Moral Psychology.Victor Kumar & Richmond Campbell - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (3):311-330.
    Experimental research in moral psychology can be used to generate debunking arguments in ethics. Specifically, research can indicate that we draw a moral distinction on the basis of a morally irrelevant difference. We develop this naturalistic approach by examining a recent debate between Joshua Greene and Selim Berker. We argue that Greene's research, if accurate, undermines attempts to reconcile opposing judgments about trolley cases, but that his attempt to debunk deontology fails. We then draw some general lessons about the possibility (...)
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  32.  38
    When Psychology Undermines Beliefs.Derek Leben - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology (3):1-23.
    This paper attempts to specify the conditions under which a psychological explanation can undermine or debunk a set of beliefs. The focus will be on moral and religious beliefs, where a growing debate has emerged about the epistemic implications of cognitive science. Recent proposals by Joshua Greene and Paul Bloom will be taken as paradigmatic attempts to undermine beliefs with psychology. I will argue that a belief p may be undermined whenever: (i) p is evidentially based on an intuition which (...)
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  33. Unifying Moral Methodology.Tristram McPherson - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (4):523-549.
    This article argues that the best way to pursue systematic normative ethical theorizing involves metaethical enquiry. My argument builds upon two central claims. First, I argue that plausible metaethical accounts can have implications that can help to resolve the methodological controversies facing normative ethics. Second, I argue that metaethical research is at least roughly as well supported as normative ethical research. I conclude by examining the implications of my thesis. Inter alia, it shows that the common practice of engaging in (...)
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  34. Morally Irrelevant Factors: What's Left of the Dual Process-Model of Moral Cognition?Hanno Sauer - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (6):783-811.
    Current developments in empirical moral psychology have spawned a new perspective on the traditional metaethical question of whether moral judgment is based on reason or emotion. Psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists such as Joshua Greene argue that there is empirical evidence that emotion is essential for one particularly important subclass of moral judgments: so-called ?deontological judgments.? In this paper, I scrutinize this claim and argue that neither the empirical evidence for Greene's dual process-theory of moral judgment nor the normative conclusions it (...)
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  35. The Dual Track Theory of Moral Decision-Making: A Critique of the Neuroimaging Evidence.Colin Klein - 2011 - Neuroethics 4 (2):143-162.
    The dual-track theory of moral reasoning has received considerable attention due to the neuroimaging work of Greene et al. Greene et al. claimed that certain kinds of moral dilemmas activated brain regions specific to emotional responses, while others activated areas specific to cognition. This appears to indicate a dissociation between different types of moral reasoning. I re-evaluate these claims of specificity in light of subsequent empirical work. I argue that none of the cortical areas identified by Greene et al. are (...)
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  36.  56
    Cognitive Neuroscience and Moral Decision-Making: Guide or Set Aside?Derek Leben - 2011 - Neuroethics 4 (2):163-174.
    It is by now a well-supported hypothesis in cognitive neuroscience that there exists a functional network for the moral appraisal of situations. However, there is a surprising disagreement amongst researchers about the significance of this network for moral actions, decisions, and behavior. Some researchers suggest that we should uncover those ethics [that are built into our brains ], identify them, and live more fully by them, while others claim that we should often do the opposite, viewing the cognitive neuroscience of (...)
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  37. The Epistemology of Ethical Intuitions.Hallvard Lillehammer - 2011 - Philosophy 86 (2):175-200.
    Intuitions are widely assumed to play an important evidential role in ethical inquiry. In this paper I critically discuss a recently influential claim that the epistemological credentials of ethical intuitions are undermined by their causal pedigree and functional role. I argue that this claim is exaggerated. In the course of doing so I argue that the challenge to ethical intuitions embodied in this claim should be understood not only as a narrowly epistemological challenge, but also as a substantially ethical one. (...)
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  38. Intuitional Epistemology in Ethics.Matthew S. Bedke - 1069-1083 - Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1069-1083.
    Here I examine the major theories of ethical intuitions, focusing on the epistemic status of this class of intuitions. We cover self-evidence theory, seeming-state theory, and some of the recent contributions from experimental philosophy.
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