The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 37–57 | Cite as

The Necessity of Moral Reasoning

  • Leland F. SaundersEmail author

A certain form of empirical argument has been advanced recently by several prominent moral psychologists who argue that conscious, deliberative reasoning is not necessary to moral judgment.1There are some minor differences among these arguments, but the general form is the same: empirical testing of people’s moral judgments in response to specific vignettes in various manipulated contexts reveals that emotions play a significant causal role in moral judgment. Moreover, in many cases it appears that reason has no causal role in moral judgment, and that emotions alone are a necessary, and often sufficient cause of moral judgment. Thus, reasoning is not necessary to moral judgment. But the argument does not stop here, because this result is thought to have significant bearing on the philosophical project of moral justification and moral theorizing more generally. Indeed, the larger aim of these arguments is to show that the psychological findings with respect to moral judgment undermine...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySeattle Pacific UniversitySeattleUSA

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