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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Role of Emotional Intuitions in Moral Judgments and Decisions

Gee, Catherine. 2014.
Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (1): 161–171.


Joshua D. Greene asserts in his 2007 article “The Secret Joke of Kant’s Soul” that consequentialism is the superior moral theory compared to deontology due to its judgments arising from “cognitive” processes alone without (or very little) input from emotive processes. However, I disagree with Greene’s position and instead argue it is the combination of rational and emotive cognitive processes that are the key to forming a moral judgment. Studies on patients who suffered damage to their ventromedial prefrontal cortex will be discussed as they are real-life examples of individuals who, due to brain damage, make moral judgments based predominately on “cognitive” processes. These examples will demonstrate that the results of isolated “cognitive” mental processing are hardly what Greene envisioned. Instead of superior processing and judgments, these individuals show significant impairment. As such, Greene’s account ought to be dismissed for does not stand up to philosophical scrutiny or the psychological literature on this topic.

The article is here.