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Cool stuff, Sue. And a refreshing break from all the free will and responsibility talk 'round these parts.

I just have a bevy of questions -- not pushing on anything here really, but just out of curiosity or clarifcatory in nature.

Do you have hunches regarding whether some of these options for disambiguation are more promising (or accurate, valuable, etc.) than others? For instance, surely there may be lots of things that "play a role" in an agent coming to have a moral judgment (no matter how we specify that). And the processes that might underlying finding oneself to have a moral judgment wouldn't need to bear any relation to generation of the judgments themselves.

Also, you seem to imply that things like utterances or speech acts shouldn't be equated with moral judgment proper (since the former may be only tenuously related to attitudes and the like). Or do you think it's a genuinely open question whether attitudes or utterances should be favored as "judgments".

Would it be useful to look at other sorts of judgments, like aesthetic judgment or various value appraisals? Or would we be in the same predicament?


This is great stuff. There are no comments, perhaps because much of what you say is obviously right, and where not obvious, that's probably down to your expertise and my ignorance, so I'll tentatively assume you're dead right about that too. I'm generalizing from my own example, but, "Everyone generalizes from one example. At least, I do." -- Vlad Taltos (Issola, Steven Brust; hat tip: Yvain of

Great points, Sue! I'm really glad you're raising these issues. I've been worried about how best to measure moral judgment too. It makes it rather difficult to interpret much of the research (purportedly) on moral judgment. I've already written about this problem for the experiments on disgust, and now I'm grappling with the studies on Double Effect.

Moreover, even if we're clear about what exactly moral judgments are, I'm also concerned about two further (and intertwined) issues:

(a) the tools we use to measure moral judgments (e.g. scales vs. forced-choice Yes/No) and

(b) the diversity of moral judgments (e.g. judgments of right/wrong versus better/worse), at least because some of these seem obviously come in degrees while others not.

I posted about these related issues awhile back on the x-phi blog if interested:

So I think it's absolutely right that getting clear on what's measured is important, and not just for the descriptive questions about how moral judgment works but also normative questions that might be informed by the research.

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