Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (1):68-95 (2017)

Asia Ferrin
American University
It is widely accepted in psychology and cognitive science that there are two “systems” in the mind: one system is characterized as quick, intuitive, perceptive, and perhaps more primitive, while the other is described as slower, more deliberative, and responsible for our higher-order cognition. I use the term “reflectivism” to capture the view that conscious reflection—in the “System 2” sense—is a necessary feature of good moral judgment and decision-making. This is not to suggest that System 2 must operate alone in forming our moral decisions, but that it plays a normatively ineliminable role. In this paper, I discuss arguments that have been offered in defense of reflectivism. These arguments fit into two broad categories; let us think of them as two sides of a coin. On the first side are arguments about the efficaciousness of conscious reasoning—for example, without conscious deliberation we will make bad moral judgments and decisions. On the other side of the coin are arguments about the centrality of conscious deliberation to normative actions—for example, without conscious deliberation we are no more agential than animals or automatons. Despite their attractiveness, I argue that these arguments do not successfully establish that reflection is a necessary component of good moral judgment and decision-making. If I am right, the idea that good moral judgment and decision-making can result from entirely automatic and subconscious processes gains traction. My goal in this paper is to show that reflectivism fails to include the full range of cases of moral decision-making and that a theory of automaticity may do a better job. I briefly discuss at the end of the paper how an account of successful automatic moral judgment and decision-making might begin to take shape.
Keywords moral deliberation  moral intuition  automaticity  moral judgment and decision-making
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DOI 10.1111/sjp.12210
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Bounded Reflectivism and Epistemic Identity.Nick Byrd - 2022 - Metaphilosophy 53 (1):53-69.
Nonhuman Animals Are Morally Responsible.Asia Ferrin - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (2):135-154.

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