Top PDF An Unrealistic Account of Moral Reasons

An Unrealistic Account of Moral Reasons

An Unrealistic Account of Moral Reasons

2.2. How autonomous can moral thinking be? This question can also be tackled from an empirical stand‑ point. I think such a standpoint should be taken into account, since it provides us with another way of seeing how difficult it is to believe McDowell’s thesis that our rational and concep‑ tual capacities are completely untainted by other aspects of our psychology. If we take a careful look, for instance, at some experiments on moral psychology (see, for instance, Haidt et al. 1993; Haidt & Bjorklund 2008; Greene et al. 2001), we may be able to see that it’s not the case that our moral judgments always arise out of data manipulation and further rational de‑ liberation. Rather, what we usually define as a moral judgment may after all have its basis in a “gut reaction” and may not be an expression of propositional knowledge. When faced with certain types of morally innocuous transgressions (like using a national flag to wipe the floor, or drinking a glass of water after having spat in it), people show the same kind of reactions that moral transgressions elicit (they are thought of as being universally wrong, of a non‑contingent and mandatory nature, their wrongness independent from authority), even though they cannot find a reason to justify this. This appears to bring moral judgments close to a certain kind of affective response in which reflection over propositional contents plays little or no role at all (see also Nichols and Folds‑Bennett 2003).
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A World Without Reasons: From Moral to Metanormative Error Theory

A World Without Reasons: From Moral to Metanormative Error Theory

1.3.2 Motivational and normative reasons In the next chapter, I will introduce a framework that attempts to describe the structure of reasons, but it will be helpful to say a few things about reasons already at this point. We often talk about reasons for why someone did what they did. Similarly, we often give a reason for why we did what we did. There are, however, distinctly different ways in which we talk of “the reason for someone’s action”. First, there are reasons in the sense of psychological states of an agent that (causally) explain their behaviour (cf. Smith 1994: 95–96), which are called motivational reasons. 25 When explaining why someone did what they did, we often appeal to this kind of reasons. For instance, when children choose to receive one marshmallow instantaneously rather than accepting an offer of two marshmallows a short time later, we might say that their reason for doing so was that they really wanted the marshmallow then and there. In such cases, we are discussing the actual mental or psychological states that motivated the action. This type of reason talk can, on a very crude account, be understood as combination of (at least) a desire and a belief, which together motivates an agent to pursue a course of action in order to satisfy the desire in question (Davidson 1963).
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Making sense of reasons: prospects for an interpretivist account of practical reasons

Making sense of reasons: prospects for an interpretivist account of practical reasons

· Copyright and all moral rights to the version of the paper presented here belong to the individual author(s) and/or other copyright owners. · To the extent reasonable and practicable the material made available in Nottingham ePrints has been checked for eligibility before being made available.

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A Comprehensive Account of Blame: Self-Blame, Non-Moral Blame, and Blame for the Non-Voluntary

A Comprehensive Account of Blame: Self-Blame, Non-Moral Blame, and Blame for the Non-Voluntary

Now, the only other way to account both for this expectation and for the pro tanto moral permissibility of deliberately guilting the blameworthy is to adopt Andreas Brekke Carlsson’s view (,/0f). On his view, the blameworthy are not, as on my view, those for whom it is fiCing to feel guilty, but rather are those who deserve to feel guilty. His view, like mine, ensures that the blameworthy necessarily deserve to suffer guilty feelings, which is what we must hold if we’re to account for the pro tanto moral permissibility of deliberately guilting the blameworthy and, consequently, for the expectation that even morally good people will be motivated to express their blame of the blameworthy with the aim of guilting them. But I believe that we should reject Carlsson’s view for the following two reasons. First, it leaves unexplained why the blaming emotions (e.g., guilt, resentment, and indignation) are unlike all other intentional a^itudes (e.g., pride, fear, belief, shame, disgust, and admiration), which are all appropriate just in case they are fi^ing—that is, accurate in their representations. 25 Second, it faces the following
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A Dual Aspect Account of Moral Language

A Dual Aspect Account of Moral Language

However, DAA is also able to provide a more thorough explanation of the practicality of moral language. In Grice’s view, if an utterance of a sentence carries a GCI, utterances of such a sentence standardly carries this conversational implicature. This means that the utterance carries such an implicature even if the context in question does not have any special features—in other words, features merely pertaining to individual contexts—that support this understanding of it. The two bases of DAA that I identified in the preceding sections suggest basically two reasons of why this is the case as regards utterances of moral sentences: (i) moral conversations generally have as a mutually accepted purpose to influence behaviour; and (ii) there are certain background presumptions regarding moral beliefs and utterances. These two considerations, I suggested, constitute tacit notions that are present when we are involved in moral conversations. Thus, I argued that these notions govern our understanding of a moral utterance independently of the special contextual features of the case at hand. As a consequence of these notions, we assume that a moral utterance carries the implicature under consideration even where the case in question does not have specific contextual features which support this understanding of it. This readily explains the practicality of moral language. Hence, we generally presume that a person who employs a sentence of the type “φing is wrong” wants that φ is not performed, although we do not have any special contextual information about the particular case at hand which indicates that she
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The ethical desirability of moral bioenhancement: a review of reasons

The ethical desirability of moral bioenhancement: a review of reasons

In addition to the fact that a consensus is currently lacking, some authors view ethical standards as “arbitrary products of cultural history”, as Larry Arnhart wonders with regard to Walker’s writings ([70]: 81). Or, given a pluralistic reality, is it possible to be neutral with respect to wide-ranging outlooks and ethical systems? Persson and Savulescu, for instance, expect that their proposal for the core of our moral disposition – consisting of altruism, a sense of justice or fairness, and empathy – will be shared by many ([2]: 168-169). They think that despite the deep disagree- ments between different accounts of right action, some sort of actions (“the willingness to sacrifice one’s own interests for the benefit of others”, for example) will be viewed as “a moral enhancement, on any account of morality” ([68]: 5-6). Walker also cautions against overemphasizing the differences, and points to significant overlap between different lists of virtues ([15]: 35). DeGrazia proposes that we “stick to improvements that represent points of overlapping consensus among competing, reasonable moral perspectives” ([29: 364). Moreover, Filippo Sio and colleagues claim that:
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Moral Disagreement - A Psychological Account and the Political Implications

Moral Disagreement - A Psychological Account and the Political Implications

Chapter 3 continued with the theme of substantiating fundamental moral disagreement, but focused on the claim that it also occurs between members of the same cultural group, including relatively narrowly delineated groups. I discussed preliminary reasons why we should conceive of the sort of moral disagreements encountered within our broad societal cultural group as fundamental, citing studies which suggest that such disagreements typically stem from differences in value weighting rather than non-moral disagreement. Further citing instances of moral disagreement within more narrowly defined groups, in particular, between peer groups and between professional ethical theorists, I argued that we also have good reason to sometimes take moral disagreement emerging in these groups as fundamental. Chapter 4 started by offering an overview of Shaun Nichols’ and Jonathan Haidt’s accounts of moral judgement and the cultural construction of moral norms. I argued that both were incomplete and each needed to be modified. I articulated Nichols’ ‘sentimental rules’ account of the precise link between affect and moral judgement, along with his ‘affective resonance’ hypothesis, which concerns the role of affective dispositions in shaping the cultural evolution of moral norms. Finding Nichols’ work promising but incomplete, I moved on to discuss Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory, which I found to offer explanatory advantages over Nichols’, yet again suffer from certain deficiencies. In light of this, I proposed my own TEA model, which combines the best insights from each theory and adds additional elements to offer a more complete explanation of moral psychology. It was claimed that, in the first stage, although our emotional dispositions are malleable in the face of cultural influences, our evolved, innate emotional learning biases help shape (but not determine) the moral values which are culturally constructed in communities. In the second stage, the moral values constructed within a particular community go on to influence the cultural evolution of moral norms.
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Getting it right: an account of the moral agency of NGOs

Getting it right: an account of the moral agency of NGOs

Suppose, for example, that the driver in Pogge’s original case ran over the children while on holiday in a foreign country. Choosing not to bother with legal proceedings, the prosecutor simply has the driver deported. But the driver is aware of his intermediate duty to assist the children and wishes to fulfil it, so he contacts a charity in the foreign country that provides free medical aid to children and donates to them. Does the charity now have an obligation to assist specifically those two children hit by the drunk driver? It does not seem that it does, so long as the charity has not made any promise to the driver to target the aid to his victims. This organisation may in fact be up front about their policy of not coordinating aid from any particular donor to any particular child, for logistical reasons. Perhaps the driver donates to them anyway, in the hopes that it will somehow reach the children he has injured. Or perhaps the employees of the charity are personally moved by his guilty conscience and make an effort to deliver the aid to his victims. The point is, if they do so, the aid of the particular children is entirely optional and not morally required, provided they have not taken the driver’s money on the promise of directing his aid to the children in question.
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Situationism and Moral Responsibility: An Externalist Account

Situationism and Moral Responsibility: An Externalist Account

examination of beliefs of the most fundamental kind—beliefs that structure our lives, [and] shape our worldviews” (p. 3), a practice that entails “systematic, analytic, productive thinking,” which is “useful in everyday situations” (p. 7). If we accept this definition, it is hard to see how one can live a good life without engaging in philosophical reasoning, or, conversely, how failing to engage in philosophical reasoning could not fail to undermine one’s ability to live well. While it may be true that most people ascribe responsibility willy nilly, i.e., without any justification, or even any attempt at justification, these people should, ethically speaking, possess some reason for acting as they do. This is especially true when their moral practices affect other people’s interests. For example, if a doctor is deciding whether or not to involuntarily hospitalize and forcibly medicate a patient, on the supposition that the person is morally impaired, the doctor has an obligation to provide justifying reasons to the patient, the patient’s family, and the broader community; and given the doctor’s considerable influence and authority, the reasons had better be pretty good. (This is why Canadian doctors, for example, are legally required to provide a notice justifying a judgment of incapacity.) While it is true that the physician may have developed a habit of relying on her medical intuitions, she cannot offer these intuitions as a reason, a justification, for revoking a person’s civil liberties. She must offer interpersonally acceptable reasons. This is why we need a theory of responsibility that is empirically robust and fairly intuitively grounded: because as moral agents, we have a responsibility to justify our other-oriented actions to those whom they affect, and to the broader community of humans who have a stake in the social good. Admittedly, a medical doctor is a particularly high-profile case with a particularly high burden of responsibility, but the same basic considerations apply to ordinary people. For instance, if a mother is going to withhold affection and moral consideration from her son, she owes him and moral society an explanation.
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Moral Encounters of the Artificial Kind: Towards a non-anthropocentric account of machine moral agency

Moral Encounters of the Artificial Kind: Towards a non-anthropocentric account of machine moral agency

27 the Organic View itself does not give us a clear criterion for sentience (of the requisite kind), and so we have to rely on our intuitions to determine which kinds of creatures are moral patients, and these intuitions are geared towards including those entities that look like us and excluding those that look less like us. These intuitions do not necessarily track “actual” sentience, and so the criterion of sentience does not help us, in practice, to identify moral patients. To see this more clearly consider the example of fish, more specifically, fish cognition. Our perception of an animal’s intelligence is often a key criterion (although not the only one) for whether we consider them to be sentient or not, and fish are rarely considered to be intelligent or phenomenally sentient in a manner akin to humans or even mammals. Moreover, fish are very rarely (if ever) accorded the same type of moral concern as are warm- blooded, non-human animals. Standard reasons given for such claims is that fish lack the requisite neural complexity in order to have the right kind of “experience”. Such endothermism 17 (in the case of fish, specifically) stems from a disjunction between the public perception of fish intelligence and scientific reality (Brown, 2015). There is ample scientific evidence supporting the conclusion that “fish perception and cognitive abilities often match or exceed other vertebrates’” (ibid.). For example, fish are capable of tool use and display evidence of complex social organisation and interaction (such as signs of cooperation and reconciliation). The point here is not to outline all of the ways in which fish cognition may be measured. Rather, the key issue is that if we use our traditional metrics of intelligence when it comes to animals (such as tool use and social organisation), then we are forced to conclude that fish are on par with (and at times exceed) other “sentient” vertebrates in these criteria. The next question, then, would be whether, following from the fact that fish exhibit “intelligent” behaviour, they are also phenomenally sentient and hence capable of similar kinds of suffering? Our intuitions surrounding fish sentience and their capacity to feel and suffer seem to be biased away from accepting them as sentient “enough” to merit moral concern. It seems that we struggle to empathise with fish as
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A Unified Account of the Moral Standing to Blame

A Unified Account of the Moral Standing to Blame

Consider Jonas, however: Jonas is a Nazi commander working in a death camp. However, unlike Steffen, Jonas is secretly opposed to the Nazi regime. He thus does everything within his power to save the lives of as many prisoners as possible, consistent, of course, with maintaining his position as a committed Nazi; Jonas (correctly) reasons that he can do much more good secretly sabotaging the Nazi efforts as a trusted commander than he could by open defiance. Jonas hears rumors of an escape. In order to keep appearances, he must order someone to investigate the fence. Jonas thus orders Thomas to investigate the fence and sound the alarm should he see anyone attempting escape. Jonas chose Thomas for this task because he (blamelessly, though incorrectly) thought that, of all the people he might choose, Thomas would be the most likely to have mercy and not sound the alarm should he actually find prisoners escaping, and instead report back that there was nothing to the rumors. Instead, however, Thomas discovers the escaping prisoners, sounds the alarm, and the prisoners are caught and executed.
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A Justice-Oriented Account of Moral Responsibility for Implicit Bias.

A Justice-Oriented Account of Moral Responsibility for Implicit Bias.

5. Conclusion For pragmatic reasons alone, then, I might have been able to argue for the view that we ought to hold people accountable but not attributively responsible for implicit bias. But I don’t want to lose sight of the moral reasons for avoiding appraisal-based responses. In my view, pragmatic reasons are more often than not tied up with moral reasons; psychological recalcitrance tends to indicate failures to recognize important aspects of what it is like to be and to conceive of oneself as a fully-developed moral agent worthy of respect, or the lack of relationships of moral community and mutual respect. Autonomy, competence, and relatedness are important for internalizing and realizing social norms because these are precisely the conditions that respect people’s experiences of themselves as efficacious moral agents responding to reasons. As we know, implicit biases act on us in ways that undermine the exercise of our rational capacities for self-reflective awareness and deliberative choice and endorsement—the things that make us it possible for us to be morally responsible beings at all. They can be utterly invisible to us. Thus, in respecting people as morally responsible agents, we should pay attention to what it is like for an agent trying to act rightly within the limits of what is visible from her practical point of view. But, as Angela Smith (2008) has argued, being held responsible is not only a burden, but a privilege: an expression of respect for their status as moral agents. This is why it remains vitally important that we hold people accountable for implicit bias: that we view them as agents whose actions express their social relationships to us. After all, what makes it necessary for us to hold each other responsible in the first place are the social needs based on relationships within the moral community and what is required to fashion and uphold acceptable forms of those relationships. The trick is to figure out how to be sensitive to the complexities of human action and the many ways human agents fall short—all the while still holding them accountable when they do.
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Two sources of moral reasons

Two sources of moral reasons

Here is a first attempt. There are at least two properties of everyday, vanilla beliefs which seem to be shared by moral judgements: amenability to reason, on the one hand, and ‘aiming at truth’, on the other. The two are closely related: our beliefs alter in the light of fresh information precisely because they aim at the truth, where this is understood as a descriptive matter. Now, our moral judgements are generally amenable to reason – that is, fit subjects for rational debate, apt to change in response to new information or arguments, and so on. When we enter into a moral debate with someone, the content of the debate extends beyond the mere appropriateness of our responses to an action (although that may well be a corollary of the debate). The debate proceeds by adducing reasons, and we form moral beliefs in response to these arguments and sometimes even against desires to the contrary. For instance, we might strongly want to believe that philosophers of mathematics are morally inferior, perhaps because it reassures us about our own status in the world, but be compelled to revise our views by some careful argument. Now this by itself does not show that moral judgement is a matter of belief formation; our desires, and emotions more generally, also admit of rational interrelation, assessment, and alteration. And it has been suggested that there is a distinct element of our psychology which has evolved to provide a means of systematic re-ordering of desires, broadly construed. On Gibbard’s account, for instance, normative language is
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Moral Dilemma and Moral Sense: A Phenomenological Account

Moral Dilemma and Moral Sense: A Phenomenological Account

unambiguously in favor of the position that rational moral principles—what he calls the level of critical thinking—are “epistemologically prior” to our intuitions. 18 One of the reasons Hare gives for this position is that our intuitions, which are the products of our upbringing and of our accumulated experience in making moral decisions, are necessarily quite simple. This simplicity is their virtue: in our day-to-day lives, we face situations that are in some ways novel, but that are nonetheless quite regular. Yesterday I promised my students I would have their exams graded within a week, and today I promised a sick relative that I would visit her in the hospital. There are of course important differences between these two promises, but if I had to take into account how all those differences might bear on the rightness or wrongness of breaking the promises, I would find it very difficult to act in the world. Because I was educated in basic moral principles as a child, my intuitions tell me straightaway that I ought to keep the promise in each case. But this simplicity is also the source of moral difficulties: sometimes I encounter situations that are too complex for my intuitions to handle reliably. When those situations arise, I have no option but to look to a higher level of moral reasoning for the solution to my
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Reasons for and reasons against

Reasons for and reasons against

Abstract What an agent ought to do is determined by competition between reasons bearing on the options open to her. The popular metaphor of balancing or weighing reasons on a scale to represent this competition encourages a focus on competition between reasons for competing options. But what an agent ought to do also depends on the reasons against those options. The balancing metaphor does not provide an obvious way to represent reasons against. Partly as a result of this, there is a serious lack of work on reasons against. A simple view is that there is no problem here, since reasons against an option are really just more reasons for—in particular, reasons for certain alternatives. This simple view lets us maintain the balancing metaphor, and more importantly, it simplifies theorizing about the competition between reasons. This is because if it’s true, there is really just one kind of com- petition, the competition between reasons for competing options. This paper chal- lenges the simple view, arguing against several ways of identifying which alternatives to an option the reasons against it are reasons for. I also sketch a competing view, according to which reasons against are distinct from reasons for— these are two different normative relations. If this kind of view is correct, then our theory of the competition between reasons will need to recognize at least two kinds of competition: the one between reasons for competing options, and the one between the reasons for an option and the reasons against it.
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“An unrealistic expectation”: Māori youth on indigenous language purism

“An unrealistic expectation”: Māori youth on indigenous language purism

Instead, the remainder rejected purism in language use, and 40 of the 53 students explicitly argued that purist attitudes to using te reo Māori inhibit language acquisition. They explained that “ an important learning step is getting the con- fidence to try and speak more ” , “ it slowly improves te reo speaking until one can easily converse in te reo ” , “ speaking it actively is extremely useful for learning and correcting mistakes ” , and purism is “ an unrealistic expectation for anyone learning a second language ” . Another five students expressed frustration at the high expectations often placed on language learners, and felt that purist attitudes to te reo Māori do not accommodate the range of proficiencies New Zealanders today might have. They argued, for example, that “ people should always speak M ā ori, if there are any mistakes people can fix them as they become more fluent in the language ” , that “ even a basic knowledge of te reo Maori is better than nothing ” and “ I know a lot of people that can ’ t speak English properly (yous as plural for you, etc.) No language is perfect and it would take years of study and practice to be able to speak it fluently with minimal mistakes ” .
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Treatment guidelines for bipolar disorder: a bit unrealistic, but indispensable

Treatment guidelines for bipolar disorder: a bit unrealistic, but indispensable

Another change that should be operated in treat- ment research is the attitude towards negative tri- als, and this is obviously reflected by guidelines, which represent the mirror of current clinical re- search. Publication bias is a serious problem which may be improving lately, and which could lead to a more objective resizing in the recommendation grade of some compounds as a consequence. Clinicians face the everyday challenge to treat pa- tients with bipolar disorder, a difficult illness be- cause of its intrinsic complexity and variability. Guidelines cannot take into account its highly var- iable presentation, so they should be seen as not prescriptive, flexible tools. However, they may be very useful to reduce the sometimes unnecessary variability of clinical practice, and to help clini- cians to avoid mistakes and the use of non scien- tific options. Clinicians have to integrate whatever type of recommendation from guidelines with ex- perience, common sense, and respect for patients’ choices.
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The Standard Account of Moral Distress and Why We Should Keep It

The Standard Account of Moral Distress and Why We Should Keep It

Unlike Fourie and Campbell et al, we believe that it is important to retain the narrow focus of Jameton’s definition i.e., that the term moral distress should be applied to the psycho- emotional-physiological responses of an individual who feels unable to act in a way that they believe to be consistent with deeply held ethical values, principles or moral commitments because of institutional or other constraints. In situations involving moral distress, the moral agent believes that moral norms are being violated and, at the same time, feels unable to act otherwise. In sum, both ‘belief in moral wrongdoing’ and ‘constraint’ are necessary conditions of moral distress. Waiving either one of these two conditions – and thereby ‘broadening’ the definition – fails to acknowledge the normative and epistemological difference between, on the one hand, a constrained moral agency (the moral agent holds a belief about what the right thing to do is but feels unable to do it) and, on the other hand, a
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Unrealistic Optimism About Future Life Events

Unrealistic Optimism About Future Life Events

Cognitive and motivational considerations led to predictions that degree of desirability, per- ceived probability, personal experience, perceived controllability, and stereotype salience[r]

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SAVINGS ACCOUNT STRATEGIES. Overall Learning Objectives BACKGROUND INFORMATION. Reasons for Savings Accounts

SAVINGS ACCOUNT STRATEGIES. Overall Learning Objectives BACKGROUND INFORMATION. Reasons for Savings Accounts

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). How to Open an Account When opening a savings account, financial institutions will usually require at least one photo ID, a social security number, and proof of address, as well as an initial deposit of money. Special accounts for youth usually require a low minimum balance. If a teen under the age of eighteen wishes to use an ATM card to access their savings account, he or she will most likely have to open a “custodial” account. This means an adult must open the account on their behalf, and that the adult is ultimately responsible for the account. A parent or guardian must be present for a teen to open this kind of an account. (Consumer Action, 2003).
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