Pushing the Intuitions behind Moral Internalism

Philosophical Psychology 28 (4):510-528 (2015)
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Abstract

Moral Internalism proposes a necessary link between judging that an action is right/wrong and being motivated to perform/avoid that action. Internalism is central to many arguments within ethics, including the claim that moral judgments are not beliefs, and the claim that certain types of moral skepticism are incoherent. However, most of the basis for accepting Internalism rests on intuitions that have recently been called into question by empirical work. This paper further investigates the intuitions behind Internalism. Three experiments show not only that these intuitions are not widespread, but that they are significantly influenced by normative evaluations of the situation in question. These results are taken to undermine Internalist intuitions, and contribute to the growing body of evidence showing that normative evaluations influence supposedly non-normative judgments

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Derek Leben
Carnegie Mellon University