Cognitive Science 42 (S1):38-68 (2018)

Authors
Dana Kay Nelkin
University of California, San Diego
Jonathan Knutzen
University of Graz
Abstract
There is a vast literature that seeks to uncover features underlying moral judgment by eliciting reactions to hypothetical scenarios such as trolley problems. These thought experiments assume that participants accept the outcomes stipulated in the scenarios. Across seven studies, we demonstrate that intuition overrides stipulated outcomes even when participants are explicitly told that an action will result in a particular outcome. Participants instead substitute their own estimates of the probability of outcomes for stipulated outcomes, and these probability estimates in turn influence moral judgments. Our findings demonstrate that intuitive likelihoods are one critical factor in moral judgment, one that is not suspended even in moral dilemmas that explicitly stipulate outcomes. Features thought to underlie moral reasoning, such as intention, may operate, in part, by affecting the intuitive likelihood of outcomes, and, problematically, moral differences between scenarios may be confounded with non-moral intuitive probabilities.
Keywords Intuition  Moral judgment  Morality  Probability  Trolley problem
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DOI 10.1111/cogs.12598
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Liability, culpability, and luck.Dana Kay Nelkin - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.

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