Committee ChairSchmidtz, David
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractEmerging work in moral psychology challenges our confidence in our moral judgment. Our moral intuitions have been attributed to automatic, emotionally laden processes and are alleged to be accordingly deficient. Intuitive moral judgments apparently neglect some of the most basic concerns of moral decision-making; for example, they purportedly disregard relevant information, fail to balance competing considerations, and ignore social costs and benefits. Some moral psychologists propose an evolutionary explanation, suggesting that our moral sensibilities track matters of adaptive, rather than moral, significance.These findings are disconcerting and might naturally be taken to unsettle our philosophical practice. An empirically-informed moral psychology seems to discredit moral common sense as well as prevailing accounts of method and justification in moral and political philosophy. In turn, it threatens to undermine substantive conceptions of matters such as virtue, rights, and distributive justice.I argue that contemporary moral psychology does not, as is often supposed, necessitate radical revisions to our conception of morality. Recent research does oblige us to reevaluate many of our views in moral and political philosophy; however, I argue that it also gives us the opportunity to supply these views with new and stronger support.