Mark H. Herman
Arkansas State University
The capacity to act in accordance with one’s morality (broadly construed) is constitutive of moral agency. This capacity can be undermined—in whole or in part—by for instance, hypnosis, addiction, or obsessive-compulsion. Another way this capacity can be undermined is through poor moral reasoning. Moral irrationality can frustrate one’s capacity to act in accordance with one’s morality and in turn, stunt one’s moral agency. In a similar respect, improving moral rationality can strengthen this capacity and enhance moral agency. The empirical research program on (non-moral) cognitive debiasing inspires developing techniques to improve our moral rational capacities—i.e., moral debiasing. Yet, moral debiasing presupposes moral biases—that is, systematic moral errors. So, what are moral errors exactly? The pertinent kind is subjective moral errors. Ultimately, A’s φ-ing is a subjective moral error insofar as φ-ing deviates from A’s genuine morality per instrumental subjective moral rationality (ISMR)—i.e., insofar as φ-ing frustrates A+’s morally-relevant ends, wherein A+ is a counterfactual idealization of A upon whom is bestowed those endowments that A considers authoritative under ordinary optimal conditions. The provision of an in-principle standard of subjective moral error lays important theoretical groundwork for future empirical inquiry into subjective moral debiasing.
Keywords Subjective  Moral  Debiasing  Idealization  Enhancing  Agency  Reasoning  Irrationality  Biases  Error
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Moral Agency in Other Animals.Paul Shapiro - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (4):357-373.
Rational Feelings and Moral Agency.Ido Geiger - 2011 - Kantian Review 16 (2):283-308.
The Necessity of Moral Reasoning.Leland Saunders - 2018 - Journal of Value Inquiry 52 (1):37-57.
Aid and Bias.Keith Horton - 2004 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):545 – 561.
Autism, Empathy and Questions of Moral Agency.Timothy Krahn & Andrew Fenton - 2009 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 39 (2):145-166.
What is Moral Reasoning?Leland F. Saunders - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology (1):1-20.
Moral Anxiety and Moral Agency.Charlie Kurth - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 5:171-195.
An Amoral Manifesto Part I.Joel Marks - 2010 - Philosophy Now (80):30-33.
An Amoral Manifesto Part II.Joel Marks - 2010 - Philosophy Now (81):23-26.
Moral Agency in Mammalia.Mark D. Reid - 2010 - Between the Species 13 (10):1.


Added to PP index

Total views
68 ( #166,942 of 2,498,558 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #63,083 of 2,498,558 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes