Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 303–324 | Cite as

The Two Sources of Moral Standing

  • Justin SytsmaEmail author
  • Edouard Machery


There are two primary traditions in philosophical theorizing about moral standing—one emphasizing Experience (the capacity to feel pain and pleasure) and one emphasizing Agency (complexity of cognition and lifestyle). In this article we offer an explanation for this divide: Lay judgments about moral standing depend importantly on two independent cues (Experience and Agency), and the two philosophical traditions reflect this aspect of folk moral cognition. In support of this two-source hypothesis, we present the results of a series of new experiments providing evidence for our account of lay judgments about moral standing, and argue that these results lend plausibility to the proposed causal link between folk moral cognition and the philosophical traditions.


Moral Judgment Moral Agent Philosophical Tradition Howler Monkey Moral Standing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PhilosophyEast Tennessee State UniversityJohnson CityUSA
  2. 2.History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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