Some work on moral reasoning today

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Moral Reasoning

  Cushman et al do extensive analysis of moral reasoning about hypothetical scenario judgements which involve action vs inaction, intension vs inadvertant or accidental and contact (physical or nonphysical yet causal)
  That is a scenario is given and the respondent is asked to judge whether in her or his opinion that action was forbidden, permitted or mandatory.
  Respondents then asked to explain their decisions.
  Results tend to support the notion of two tier moral judgement:
  some intuitive and thus not accessible to reasoning or lingusitic summaries which express a basis for a decision
  some rational and accessible to language and justification
  Caveat: these judgements made after the fact. They justify a intutionist/rational division after the fact and suggest, while not proving , that the same division occurs before and during the act of moral decision making.
  Greene et al(2004) proposed a two system model for moral judgement —one involving engagement of affective systems the other by the engagement of cognitive systems
  Greene, J. D., Nystrom, L. E., Engell, A. D., Darley, J. M., & Cohen, J. D. (2004). The neural bases of cognitive conflict and control in moral judgment. Neuron, 44, 389-400.
  They also highlight the different moral dimensions that various psychological and philosophical investigations have used:
  Kohlberg: authority, cooperation, autonomy
  Kohlberg, L. (1969). Stage and sequence: The cognitive-developmental approach to socialization. In D. A. Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of socialization theory and research (pp. 151-235). New York: Academic Press.
  Haight: suffering, reciprocity, hierarchy, purity and group identity.
  Haidt, J. (2001). The emotional dog and its rational tail: A social intuitionist approach to moral judgment. Psychological Review, 108, 814-834.
  Haidt, J. (in press). Social intuitionists answer six questions about moral psychology. In W. Sinnott- Armstrong (Ed.), Moral psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  Haidt, J., & Hersh, M. A. (2001). Sexual morality: The cultures and emotions of conservatives and liberals.Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31(1), 191-221.
  Greene works on “me hurt you” subdivision of and proposes two system model affective and cognitive
  Mikhail proposing a single evaluative mechanism analogous to the perception of syntactic structure in language
  Mikahil, J. (2002). Aspects of a theory of moral cognition: Georgetown University Law Center.
  Mikhail, J. M. (2000). Rawls’ linguistic analogy: A study of the ‘generative grammar’ model of moral theory described by john rawls in ‘a theory of justice’. Unpublished PhD, Cornell University, Ithaca.
  Mikhail, J. M., Sorrentino, C., & Spelke, E. (2002). Aspects of the theory of moral cognition: Investigating intuitive knowledge of the prohibition of intentional battery, the rescue principle, the first principle of practical reason, and the principle of double effect.Unpublished manuscript, Stanford.
  In “Reviving Rawls’ Linguistic Analogy: Operative principles and the causal structue of moral actions” Hauser, Young and Cushman revisit two of my friends: Rawls and Chomsky. Chapters/section notes below:
  “If the nature of moral knowledge is comparable in some way to the nature of linguistic knowledge, as defended recently by Harman (1977), Dwyer [1999, 2004] and Mikhail (2000; in knowledge, as defended recently by Harman (1977), Dwyer [1999, 2004] and Mikhail (2000; in prep), then what should we expect to find when we look at the anatomy of our moral faculty?” (p1)
  How would we investigate: {their thoughts.. i’ve paraphrased or interpreted, slightly in one or two cases)
  whether or not there is a grammar
  our awareness of that grammar
  how it operates in general and from moment to moment
  Is there a universal grammar [wired in] that allows each child to build a particular [situation and person-specific yet unique]grammar
  Are different moral grammars [how different, what determines the differences, is it individual/familial/cultural or idiosyncratic??]
  How is the moral grammar acquired — partic if expreinces are “impoverished relative to thr moral judgements she makes.
  Are there brain damages that disrupt moral competence while leaving other forms of reasoning intact?
  How was this decision machinery evolved … and how is it justified as an enhanced adaptation to human existrnce
  Rawls’ Linguistic analogy
  “Uncommon bedfellows: intuition meets empirical evidence

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