Moral reasoning

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The field of moral psychology has long been dominated by a cognitive tradition that put moral reasoning at the center stage of our moral lives. More recently, a group of moral psychologists led by Jon Haidt has pushed for a more Humean view of morality, with intuitions dictating most of our moral judgments and decisions. According to this new wisdom, reasoning is often used merely to formulate post-hoc justifications for intuitive judgments. This is also what is predicted by the argumentative theory: reasoning should mostly produce arguments for our side rather than attempt a more balanced processing. On the other hand, reasoning should also allow people to evaluate moral arguments and, sometimes, to change their minds on moral issues. This short paper spells out the implications of the argumentative a good best route to effect moral change. 


A Quaker familly 
(found here)

A group of Quakers played an essential role in British abolitionism. Through the sheer force of arguments and evidence, they convinced influential politicians (most notably Wilberforce) to lend them a voice. Remarkably, despite being a close knit group with a common purpose, they did not seem to succumb to group polarization. Their story is told, among other places, in Bury the Chains.

Mercier, H. (2011) What good is moral reasoning? Mind & Society.

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