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Obstacles to Good Moral Reasoning

Dr. Glen Pettigrove suggests that moral reasoning is subject to the familiar obstacles to good logical and critical thinking.

Our aim in the course has been to give you the skills to identify true beliefs, and distinguish them from false beliefs. Many of the most important beliefs we try and adopt or reject are moral ones. Beliefs about whether a situation is good or bad, or right or wrong. We saw earlier in the course that logical and critical thinking runs up against some common obstacles. A tendency to prefer evidence which confirms a pre-existing view, to be influenced by the way an issue or question is framed– those sorts of things. Do those same problems get in the way of good moral thinking? Tim Dare puts that question to his colleague, ethicist Dr. Glen Pettigrove.

For more on the studies Glen discusses see:

Eric Schwitzgebel and Fiery Cushman, ‘Expertise in Moral Reasoning? Order Effects on Moral Judgment in Professional Philosophers and Non-Philosophers,’ Mind and Language 27 (2012): 135-153.

Simone Schnall, Jonathan Haidt, Gerald Clore, Alexander Jordan, ‘Disgust as Embodied Moral Judgment,’ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 34 (2008): 1096-1109.

Robert Baron, ‘The Sweet Smell of … Helping: Effects of Pleasant Ambient Fragrance on Prosocial Behavior in Shopping Malls,’ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 23 (1997): 498-503.

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Logical and Critical Thinking

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