Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 6, pp 1439–1458 | Cite as

Why moral psychology is disturbing

  • Regina A. Rini


Learning the psychological origins of our moral judgments can lead us to lose confidence in them. In this paper I explain why. I consider two explanations drawn from existing literature—regarding epistemic unreliability and automaticity—and argue that neither is fully adequate. I then propose a new explanation, according to which psychological research reveals the extent to which we are disturbingly disunified as moral agents.


Moral judgment Moral intuition Moral psychology Doxastic embarrassment 



This paper has extensively benefited from discussion by conference audiences at Oxford and NYU, especially a set of superb comments by Nic Bommarito. It was also greatly improved by participants in the 2015 Mentoring Workshop for Women in Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, including Dana Howard, Julia Nefsky, Tina Rulli, and most especially Amelia Hicks and Karen Stohr. I also owe thanks to Nomy Arpaly, Nora Heinzelmann, Guy Kahane, David Kaspar, Hanno Sauer, Amia Srinivasan, and an anonymous reviewer for Philosophical Studies for very helpful comments and discussion.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NYU Center for BioethicsNew YorkUSA

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