Moral Psychology
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By In Discussions, Ethics Discussions at PEA Soup, Moral Psychology, Normative Ethics Comments Off on Upcoming Ethics Discussion, October 27-29: Abe Roth’s “Intention, Expectation, and Promissory Obligation,” with a critical précis by Sarah Stroud

Upcoming Ethics Discussion, October 27-29: Abe Roth’s “Intention, Expectation, and Promissory Obligation,” with a critical précis by Sarah Stroud

We are excited to announce our next Ethics discussion, which will focus on Abe Roth‘s paper, “Intention, Expectation, and Promissory Obligation”. The paper is available through open access here. A critical précis will be provided by Sarah Stroud. Join us October 27-29!

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By In Moral Psychology, News and Events Comments Off on Intuitive Expertise — X-Phi Results

Intuitive Expertise — X-Phi Results

Over at the X-Phi Blog.

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By In Call For Papers, Metaethics, Moral Psychology, News and Events, Practical Rationality Comments (1)

Conference/CFP: Practical Reason and Metaethics

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln is hosting a conference on Practical Reason and Metaethics to be held April 22-23, 2016.  The invited speakers on the conference program are:

  • Michael Bratman  (Stanford)
  • Stephen Darwall  (Yale)
  • Sarah McGrath  (Princeton)
  • Sigrún Svavarsdóttir  (Tufts)

Call for Papers: Four additional papers will be selected though an anonymous review of submissions.  For each paper selected, the conference will contribute up to $800 to cover the travel and accommodations of the authors. Submissions are due December 1, 2015. More info below the fold.

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By In Moral Psychology, News and Events Comments Off on New Videos on Character and Virtue

New Videos on Character and Virtue

As one of the final outputs of the Character Project at Wake Forest University (www.thecharacterproject.com), we have produced a number of new videos featuring researchers in philosophy, theology, and psychology.

One set of videos is from our final conference in May, 2015. Speakers include Neil Levy, Valerie Tiberius, Gopal Sreenivasan, Tanya Chartrand and Korrina Duffy, William Fleeson, Dan Batson, Christian Miller, Andrea Glenn, Daryl Cameron, and Jen Wright and Thomas Nadelhoffer. See http://www.thecharacterproject.com/videos.php?y=2015

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By In Metaethics, Moral Psychology, News and Events Comments Off on New Blog: Normlessness and Nihilism

New Blog: Normlessness and Nihilism

Hi everyone. I’ve started a blog to workshop some ideas connected to my manuscript-in-progress, which I’m currently calling Normlessness and Nihilism. I’m at the very early stages of writing, and would very much welcome your comments and suggestions. My plan is to write 1-2 posts per week. The blog is HERE.

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By In Moral Psychology Comments (12)

Personal Identity and Moral Change

Many of you are probably familiar with the story of Phineas Gage. He was widely regarded as a kind and generous man, but he suffered from a freak accident during his work on a railroad, and the result was that a railroad spike ended up entering his brain. After the accident was over, the person who remained was not a kind or generous man. He was impulsive, callous, and clearly lacked all of the moral virtues that Phineas had previously shown. 

Now, let's consider this case as a problem of personal identity. In particular, let's ask yourself whether the following sentence is correct: 

  •  The original man named Phineas does not exist anymore; the man after the accident is a different person. 

Many people have the intuition that this sentence is correct. It might seem, then, that our intuitions conform to an approach to personal identity that emphasizes psychological similarity. Since the man after the accident is not sufficiently similar to the original Phineas, we conclude that they are not the same person. 

In a new paper in Analysis, Kevin Tobia make an incisive criticism of this interpretation. As he points out, it is indeed the case that the man after the accident is dissimilar in certain respects from the original Phineas, but there is also another quite salient fact about him. Specifically, he is morally worse than the original Phineas. That is, it is not just that he differs psychologically in some way; he specifically differs by lacking some of the original Phineas's moral virtues. Might that be the explanation of our intuitions here?

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By In Metaethics, Moral Psychology Comments (6)

Deontic and instantive morality

Morality is not exclusively deontic.  There are, after all, many things that are morally good to do though not required, or morally bad though not forbidden. However, a deontic conception has gotten a grip on the contemporary conception of interpersonal morality, or morality insofar as it has to do with proper relations between persons in virtue of their personality. One presently popular conception of interpersonal morality runs along these lines: Interpersonal morality consists in obligations or duties that are incumbent on all persons; to have a duty is to be accountable to somebody. If I am accountable to somebody, then she has standing or authority to demand my compliance; and to exercise this authority is to be disposed to respond to noncompliance with Strawsonian reactive attitudes and practices expressive of them. 

In the last chapter of my book, How We Hope, I identified a common interpersonal attitude that eludes deontic characterization: disappointment in a person, or feeling let down by a person. I proposed that holding people to demands is only one mode of interpersonal relation, and that placing hope in people is another. Demanding involves a disposition to the central Strawsonian reactive attitudes of resentment, indignation, and guilt (and perhaps contempt and shame, which I will come in a bit); placing hope involves a disposition to disappointment (and perhaps some positive interpersonal feelings like gratitude and admiration, which I will also come to later).

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