Weighing the moral worth of altruistic actions: A discrepancy between moral evaluations and prescriptive judgments

Philosophical Psychology 35 (1):95-121 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In this article, we consider the problem of a discrepancy between, on the one hand, lay prescriptive judgments on the necessity of altruistic actions and, on the other, attributing moral worth to these actions. Based on Kantian theory of morality, we hypothesized that lay attributions of the moral worth of altruistic actions would be inversely related to normative ought-judgments according to which these actions should be performed, as having positive evolutionary-based utilitarian externalities for the actors. To test this general hypothesis, we conducted two experiments using the same set of vignettes that were constructed based on systematically varying such factors as relatedness, reciprocity, the size of donation, and probability of meeting in the future. The results provide overall confirmation of our assumption, as evaluative judgments about the moral worth were inversely dependent on information provided about possible contributions from such consequentialist, payoff-based mechanisms as kinship and expected reciprocity, while prescriptive judgments were positively influenced by such information cues.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,623

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Moral Worth and Normative Ethics.Arpaly Nomy - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 5.
The Problem of Universal Judgments in Aristotle’s Ethics.R. S. Platonov - 2018 - Russian Journal of Philosophical Sciences 10:81-96.
Autism, episodic memory, and moral exemplars.Nathan Stout - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (6):858-870.
Moral Dilemmas and Prescriptivism.Christopher W. Gowans - 1989 - American Philosophical Quarterly 26 (3):187 - 197.
The Two Sources of Moral Standing.Justin Sytsma & Edouard Machery - 2012 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):303-324.
The Kantian Moral Worth of Actions Contrary to Duty.Samuel J. Kerstein - 1999 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 53 (4):530 - 552.
Moral Judgment and the Moral Point of View.George William Harris - 1981 - Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-04-09

Downloads
19 (#811,075)

6 months
11 (#350,969)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The weirdest people in the world?Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):61-83.
Person as scientist, person as moralist.Joshua Knobe - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.
The rise of moral cognition.Joshua D. Greene - 2015 - Cognition 135 (C):39-42.
Intentionality, Morality, and Their Relationship in Human Judgment.Bertram Malle - 2006 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):61-86.

View all 9 references / Add more references