Moral Psychology
Category

By In Metaethics, Moral Psychology, Moral Responsibility, Normative Ethics, Political Philosophy, Value Theory Comments Off on Tulane/Murphy Institute Fellowships!

Tulane/Murphy Institute Fellowships!

The Center for Ethics and Public Affairs at the Murphy Institute at Tulane University invites applications for three Visiting Research Professorships/Faculty Fellowships for the 2018-2019 academic year.

These fellowships are available to support outstanding faculty whose teaching and research focus on ethics, political philosophy, and political theory, or questions of moral choice in areas such as, but not restricted to, business, government, law, economics, and medicine.

While fellows will participate in conferences and seminars organized by the Murphy Institute, they will be expected to devote most of their time to conducting their own research. Faculty Fellows are normally appointed as Visiting Research Professors, receive a salary of $65,000, and are eligible for Tulane faculty benefits, including health insurance.

The application deadline is December 31, 2017.

(more…)

Read more

By In Moral Psychology, NDPR Discussion Forum Comments (10)

NDPR Forum: Christine Tappolet’s Emotions, Values, and Agency

Welcome to our latest installment of the NDPR Forum, a place for authors to discuss their books and the NDPR reviews of them. Today we welcome discussion of Christine Tappolet’s recent book Emotions, Values, and Agency, reviewed a few months ago by Benjamin De Mesel in NDPR.

(more…)

Read more

By In Experimental Philosophy, Featured Philosophers, Ideas, Moral Psychology Comments (8)

‘I Love Women’: The Conceptual Inadequacy of ‘Implicit Bias’ (by Yao and Reis-Dennis)

Hi everyone! Thanks very much for the opportunity to discuss our work-in-progress, “‘I Love Women’: The Conceptual Inadequacy of ‘Implicit Bias.’”

Tests for implicit bias, in particular the Implicit Association Test (IAT), have recently come under scrutiny. Two different meta-analyses, by Oswald et al. (2013) and Forscher et al. (2016) (recently discussed in the Chronicle of Higher Education) have concluded that measurements of “implicit bias” do not reliably predict biased behavior.

In our paper, we offer a different critique of implicit bias testing, one which philosophers and other humanistic thinkers might be well-suited to address. We argue that the dominant implicit bias tests assume crude and implausible conceptions of explicit prejudice, leaving open the possibility that the morally bad and wrong actions supposedly best explained by something interestingly implicit are instead best explained by non-obvious but nonetheless explicit prejudice.[i]

(more…)

Read more

By In Experimental Philosophy, Ideas, Moral Psychology, Moral Responsibility Comments (4)

How “ought” exceeds but implies “can”

Over the past few years, an interesting development in experimental philosophy has been work on the “ought implies can” principle (OIC) in commonsense morality. Several research teams have investigated whether patterns in commonsense moral judgment are consistent with a commitment to OIC, understood as a conceptual entailment from having a moral responsibility to being able to fulfill it. Across a variety of contexts and testing procedures, the principal finding has been very consistent: people are definitely willing to attribute moral responsibilities to agents unable to fulfill them. Based on these findings, I and others have concluded that there is no conceptual entailment from “ought” to “can.” But there is a lingering question. If there is no conceptual entailment, then what is the source of the intuitive link, which many theorists seem to sense, between “ought” and “can”? A new paper might provide at least part of the answer.

(more…)

Read more

By In Ideas, Moral Psychology, The Profession Comments (7)

The Happy Coincidence Defense and The-Most-I-Can-Do Sweet Spot (by Eric Schwitzgebel)

Eric Schwitzgebel writes:

Here are four things I care intensely about: being a good father, being a good philosopher, being a good teacher, and being a morally good person. It would be lovely if there were never any tradeoffs among these four aims.

Explicitly acknowledging such tradeoffs is unpleasant — sufficiently unpleasant that it’s tempting to try to rationalize them away. It’s distinctly uncomfortable to me, for example, to acknowledge that I would probably be better as a father if I traveled less for work. (I am writing this post from a hotel room in England.) Similarly uncomfortable is the thought that the money I’ll be spending on a family trip to Iceland this summer could probably save a few people from death due to poverty-related causes, if given to the right charity.

Today I’ll share two of my favorite techniques for rationalizing the unpleasantness away. Maybe you’ll find these techniques useful too!

(more…)

Read more

By In Ideas, Moral Psychology, Normative Ethics, Reasons and rationality Comments (15)

Can psychopaths make judgments of worth?

There’s a longstanding dispute about whether psychopaths are morally responsible. For our purposes, just stipulate that psychopaths are blind to moral reasons, that is, they lack moral, or normative, competence. There’s not much disagreement on this point (for psychopaths who score very highly on the Hare Checklist). The disagreement, instead, is over whether normative competence is necessary for moral responsibility. Suppose a psychopath sees that hitting you with a baseball bat will cause you pain, but he does it anyway because it’s fun. So, it’s thought, he judges hitting you to be worth doing, and he also judges that your interests don’t matter. Isn’t that sufficient to ground apt moral blame, and so sufficient for his being morally responsible?

Or so a school of thought goes (represented by Tim Scanlon, Angela Smith, Matt Talbert, and Pamela Hieronymi). What matters is that the psychopath at least has the rational capacity to form judgments of worth, i.e., make evaluative judgments of reasons. If he does, then it doesn’t matter if he’s blind to one subset of reasons; he’s still blameworthy for judging that the bad thing is worth doing and judging that other considerations don’t matter.

I want to try out an argument against this stance and see what you think.

(more…)

Read more

By In Ideas, Moral Psychology Comments (3)

Both Humeans and Kantians about Motivation are Wrong

Both Hume and Kant advocated extreme and implausible views of motivation; the same is also true of many of their contemporary followers. The truth about motivation lies in between these two extremes.
(more…)

Read more