The role of moral commitments in moral judgment

Cognitive Science 33 (2):273-286 (2009)
Authors
Tania Lombrozo
University of California, Berkeley
Abstract
Traditional approaches to moral psychology assumed that moral judgments resulted from the application of explicit commitments, such as those embodied in consequentialist or deontological philosophies. In contrast, recent work suggests that moral judgments often result from unconscious or emotional processes, with explicit commitments generated post hoc. This paper explores the intermediate position that moral commitments mediate moral judgments, but not through their explicit and consistent application in the course of judgment. An experiment with 336 participants finds that individuals vary in the extent to which their moral commitments are consequentialist or deontological, and that this variation is systematically but imperfectly related to the moral judgments elicited by trolley car problems. Consequentialist participants find action in trolley car scenarios more permissible than do deontologists, and only consequentialists moderate their judgments when scenarios that typically elicit different intuitions are presented side by side. The findings emphasize the need for a theory of moral reasoning that can accommodate both the associations and dissociations between moral commitments and moral judgments.
Keywords Moral intuition  Moral reasoning  Deontology  Moral judgment  Consequentialism  Trolley car problems  Moral dilemmas
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DOI 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01013.x
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Explaining Away Incompatibilist Intuitions.Dylan Murray & Eddy Nahmias - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):434-467.

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