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Implicit and Explicit Moral Reasoning

Persson, Anders LU (2012) FPRK01 20121
Practical Philosophy
Abstract
In this paper I examine potential implications of how a “Dual-process theory” of the mind can influence ethical theory. It is a theory dividing the brain in two system, an (1) implicit system, as intuitive, automatic and unconscious, and an (2) explicit system, as a deductive and conscious process. Empirical studies seem to indicate that this is how we can understand moral reasoning. It has been proposed that much of our reasoning is executed by our implicit system, and it is argued that the nature of deontology “at it’s core” is implicit and intuitive. More specifically, it is claimed that a Naturalistic Fallacy is committed, that one treads over the line distinguishing 'ought' from 'is'. Ultimately, I will claim the criticism of... (More)
In this paper I examine potential implications of how a “Dual-process theory” of the mind can influence ethical theory. It is a theory dividing the brain in two system, an (1) implicit system, as intuitive, automatic and unconscious, and an (2) explicit system, as a deductive and conscious process. Empirical studies seem to indicate that this is how we can understand moral reasoning. It has been proposed that much of our reasoning is executed by our implicit system, and it is argued that the nature of deontology “at it’s core” is implicit and intuitive. More specifically, it is claimed that a Naturalistic Fallacy is committed, that one treads over the line distinguishing 'ought' from 'is'. Ultimately, I will claim the criticism of deontology is at least partly held and that what can be deemed faulty is when one draws explicit knowledge out of implicit. I suggest that the implicit knowledge is approximations, and the fault is committed when deriving definite and exact explicit rules from these. An ethical theory that takes a “Dual-process theory” of mind into account, appears to be “Two-level utilitarianism”. I will propose an added emphasis on virtue ethics, and try to show how implicit principles can be taught with explicit control. Finally, an increasingly important question seems to be to find an answer to the threat of having an “inhuman” moral theory. I will agree with arguments that a theory must have the possibility to be completely counter-intuitive, but that the human limitation also must lead to that at least some “moral wrongs” cannot be blameworthy. (Less)
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author
Persson, Anders LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Potential implications to ethical theory given a “Dual-process theory” of mind
course
FPRK01 20121
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
implicit, explicit, moral reasoning, dual-process, dual-system, greene, haidt, blameworthy, consequentialism, deontology, trolley, footbridge, kahane, implicit bias, elephant and the rider, naturalistic fallacy, ought-is
language
English
additional info
Acknowledgments

I want to seize the moment and thank those that contributed to the completion of this paper. Dan Egonsson as tutor, for necessary feedback and discussions regarding the paper, as well as during during the whole study time in Practical Philosophy in Lund. My dear mother for proofreading, and my girlfriend Katja for the same, as well as support and pushing.
id
2701540
date added to LUP
2012-07-27 14:29:53
date last changed
2012-07-27 14:29:53
@misc{2701540,
  abstract     = {In this paper I examine potential implications of how a “Dual-process theory” of the mind can influence ethical theory. It is a theory dividing the brain in two system, an (1) implicit system, as intuitive, automatic and unconscious, and an (2) explicit system, as a deductive and conscious process. Empirical studies seem to indicate that this is how we can understand moral reasoning. It has been proposed that much of our reasoning is executed by our implicit system, and it is argued that the nature of deontology “at it’s core” is implicit and intuitive. More specifically, it is claimed that a Naturalistic Fallacy is committed, that one treads over the line distinguishing 'ought' from 'is'. Ultimately, I will claim the criticism of deontology is at least partly held and that what can be deemed faulty is when one draws explicit knowledge out of implicit. I suggest that the implicit knowledge is approximations, and the fault is committed when deriving definite and exact explicit rules from these. An ethical theory that takes a “Dual-process theory” of mind into account, appears to be “Two-level utilitarianism”. I will propose an added emphasis on virtue ethics, and try to show how implicit principles can be taught with explicit control. Finally, an increasingly important question seems to be to find an answer to the threat of having an “inhuman” moral theory. I will agree with arguments that a theory must have the possibility to be completely counter-intuitive, but that the human limitation also must lead to that at least some “moral wrongs” cannot be blameworthy.},
  author       = {Persson, Anders},
  keyword      = {implicit,explicit,moral reasoning,dual-process,dual-system,greene,haidt,blameworthy,consequentialism,deontology,trolley,footbridge,kahane,implicit bias,elephant and the rider,naturalistic fallacy,ought-is},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Implicit and Explicit Moral Reasoning},
  year         = {2012},
}