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Morality as kluge
 

Morality as kluge

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    Morality as kluge Morality as kluge Presentation Transcript

    • Debunking Moral IntuitionA Hodgepodge of Multipurpose Kludges Based on work by: Stephen Stich Joshua Knobe Daniel Kelly 1
    • Introduction• Philosophers – and more recently cognitive scientists – have offered many accounts of the psychological mechanisms & processes underlying intuitive moral judgment• Moral philosophers have always insisted that sometimes the outputs of those processes – people’s “moral intuitions” – are not to be trusted – though they disagree about when skepticism is warranted 2
    • Introduction• Our goal in this talk is to sketch a newly emerging perspective on the mechanisms underlying moral intuition …• and to explore its implications for the hotly debated issue of whether and when intuitions should be relied on 3
    • Introduction• Philosophers have typically assumed that those mechanisms were well designed for … something• But we now have reasons to think that many of theses mechanisms are not well designed for ANYTHING 4
    • IntroductionMoral Psychology is a KludgeA hodgepodge of multipurpose kludges! 5
    • Introduction• Before explaining and defending this claim it will be useful to consider some of the reasons that philosophers – both classic & contemporary – have offered for discounting moral intuitions 6
    • Philosophical Background• Reflective Equilibrium – Rawls’ “Decision Procedure for Ethics” (1951) – Narrow Reflective Equilibrium • Bring intuitions about – particular cases – moral principles into accord • To do this, sometimes an intuition about a particular case must be rejected 7
    • Philosophical Background– Wide Reflective Equilibrium • Bring intuitions about – particular cases – moral principles into accord with the rest of our beliefs – including beliefs about scientific matters, history, politics – even metaphysics & semantics • Even more of our intuitions about particular cases will have to be rejected 8
    • Philosophical Background– Evolutionary arguments debunking intuition • Perhaps the most influential writer in this tradition is Peter Singer The Expanding Circle Ethics and Sociobiology Peter Singer FARRAR, STRAUS & GIROUX New York 1981 Updated in “Ethics & Intuition (2005)
    • Philosophical Background– In The Expanding Circle, Singer focuses on nepotistic intuitions which maintain that, in various domains, we ought to value the welfare of our kin and tribesmen more than the welfare of people outside these circles– The psychological processes leading to judgments of this sort were adaptive in ancestral environments (and perhaps they still are)– But once we see why we have these nepotistic & tribal intuitions, Singer suggests, we can also see that there is intuitions no good reason to use them in a “decision procedure for ethics” 10
    • Philosophical Background– In “Ethics and Intuition” (2005) Singer develops the argument by focusing on the sort of “trolley problems” that have loomed large in recent philosophical and empirical studies 11
    • Philosophical Background– Singer (following Greene) maintains that the neuroscientific evidence suggests that intuitions about the “footbridge” case are the result of our emotional reaction to cases in which harm is caused by the sort of interaction that would have occurred in ancestral environments 12
    • Philosophical Background“The salient feature that explains our different intuitive judgments concerning the two cases is that the footbridge case is the kind of situation that was likely to arise during the eons of time over which we were evolving; whereas the standard trolley case describes a way of bringing about someone’s death that has only been possible in the past century or two…. But what is the moral salience of the fact that I have killed someone in a way that was possible a million years ago, rather than in a way that became possible only two hundred years ago? I would answer: none…. 13
    • Philosophical Background“At [a] more general level …this … casts serious doubt on the method of reflective equilibrium. There is little point in constructing a moral theory designed to match considered moral judgments that themselves stem from our evolved responses to the situations in which we and our ancestors lived during the period of our evolution as social mammals, primates, and finally, human beings. We should, with our current powers of reasoning and our rapidly changing circumstances, be able to do better than that.” (348)”What I am saying, in brief, is this. Advances in our understanding of ethics … undermine some conceptions of doing ethics …. Those conceptions of ethics tend to be too respectful of our intuitions. Our better understanding of ethics gives us grounds for being less respectful of them.” (349) them. 14
    • Philosophical Background• Assumptions that Singer and the friends of intuition share: share – The psychological system underlying our moral intuitions is well designed – Thus there is some point to – or reason for – the intuitive moral judgments people make when the system is working properly • Though Singer (unlike the friends of intuition) insists that the function the system is designed for is of dubious moral importance, and thus that the intuitions are not to be taken importance seriously 15
    • Philosophical Background• We believe that the engine of moral intuition is not well designed at all• Far from being the sort of “elegant machine” celebrated in the writings of some evolutionary psychologists, we think that it is a kludge – a cluster of mechanisms cobbled together rather awkwardly from bits of mental machinery most of which were designed for functions that have noting to do with morality 16
    • Kelly on Disgust• Kelly has constructed a rich, nuanced, empirically supported account of the psychological mechanisms underlying the uniquely human disgust system and Daniel Kelly how that system evolved 17
    • Kelly on Disgust• The Entanglement Thesis – Disgust is itself a kludge – a uniquely human emotion produced by the merger of two distinct systems• The Co-Optation Thesis – After the merger, disgust was co-opted by • the norm system • the ethnic boundary system which were central elements in the emergence of human ultra-sociality 18
    • Kelly on Disgust• Kelly assembles a vast array of evidence for these theses, drawn from – neuroscience – social psychology – cognitive psychology – developmental psychology – evolutionary psychology – gene-culture co-evolution theory• As usual, the devil is in the details – read the work as it appears in print 19
    • Kelly on Disgust The Entanglement Thesis• Disgust exhibits a puzzling array of elicitors which evoke an equally puzzling cluster of responses 20
    • Kelly on Disgust The Entanglement Thesis• Elicitors include – Foods: dog meat, grubs, insects Foods 21
    • Kelly on Disgust The Entanglement Thesis• Elicitors include – Foods: dog meat, grubs, insects Foods – Substances associated with the body: feces, vomit, spit body – Organic decay – People and objects associated with illness: a shirt once illness worn by a person with leprosy – Sexual practices: necrophilia, incest practices – Some moral transgressions & transgressors: rape, torture, child molestation – Members of low status outgroups: untouchables, Jews outgroups 22
    • Kelly on Disgust Some elicitors are pan-cultural The Entanglement Thesis• Elicitors include – Foods: dog meat, grubs, insects Foods – Substances associated with the body: feces, vomit, spit body – Organic decay – People and objects associated with illness: a shirt once illness worn by a person with leprosy – Sexual practices: necrophilia, incest practices – Some moral transgressions & transgressors: rape, torture, child molestation – Members of low status outgroups: untouchables, Jews outgroups 23
    • Kelly on Disgust Others are culturally local (or idiosyncratic) The Entanglement Thesis• Elicitors include – Foods: dog meat, grubs, insects Foods – Substances associated with the body: feces, vomit, spit body – Organic decay – People and objects associated with illness: a shirt once illness worn by a person with leprosy – Sexual practices: necrophilia, incest practices – Some moral transgressions & transgressors: rape, torture, child molestation – Members of low status outgroups: untouchables, Jews outgroups 24
    • Kelly on Disgust The Entanglement Thesis• The disgust response includes  Gape face (occasionally accompanied by retching)  Feeling of nausea  Sense oral incorporation  Quick withdrawal  A more sustained & cognitive sense of offensiveness  A more sustained & cognitive sense of contamination 25
    • Kelly on Disgust The Entanglement Thesis• How are all of these connected? connected• The Entanglement Thesis maintains that the human emotion of disgust is the result of the fusion of two distinct mechanisms – each of which has homologous counterparts in other species • though they have combined only in humans 26
    • Kelly on Disgust The Entanglement Thesis• One mechanism (“the poison avoidance mechanism”) is mechanism directly linked to digestion – It evolved to regulate food intake and protect the gut against ingested substances that are poisonous or otherwise harmful – It was designed to expel substances entering the gastro- intestinal system via the mouth – And to acquire new elicitors very quickly • As John Garcia famously demonstrated, ingested substances that induce gut-based distress often generate acquired aversions 27
    • Kelly on Disgust The Entanglement Thesis• The other mechanism (“the parasite avoidance mechanism”) mechanism – Evolved to protect against infection from pathogens and parasites, by avoiding them parasites – Not specific to ingestion, but serves to guard against coming into close physical proximity with infectious agents – This involves avoiding not only visible pathogens and parasites, but also places, substances and other organisms parasites that might be harboring them 28
    • Kelly on DisgustThese elements of the disgust response are traceable to the poison avoidance system The Entanglement Thesis • The disgust response includes  Gape face (occasionally accompanied by retching)  Feeling of nausea  Sense oral incorporation  Quick withdrawal  A more sustained & cognitive sense of offensiveness  A more sustained & cognitive sense of contamination 29
    • and Kelly on Disgust these are traceable tothe parasite avoidance poison system The Entanglement Thesis• The disgust response includes  Gape face (occasionally accompanied by retching)  Feeling of nausea  Sense oral incorporation  Quick withdrawal  A more sustained & cognitive sense of offensiveness  A more sustained & cognitive sense of contamination 30
    • These elicitorson Disgust Kelly are traceable to the poison Entanglement Thesis The avoidance system• Elicitors include – Foods: dog meat, grubs, insects Foods – Substances associated with the body: feces, vomit, spit body – Organic decay – People and objects associated with illness: a shirt once illness worn by a person with leprosy – Sexual practices: necrophilia, incest practices – Some moral transgressions & transgressors: rape, torture, child molestation – Members of low status outgroups: untouchables, Jews outgroups 31
    • and Kelly on Disgust these are traceable to the parasite avoidance system The Entanglement Thesis• Elicitors include – Foods: dog meat, grubs, insects Foods – Substances associated with the body: feces, vomit, spit body – Organic decay – People and objects associated with illness: a shirt once illness worn by a person with leprosy – Sexual practices: necrophilia, incest practices – Some moral transgressions & transgressors: rape, torture, child molestation – Members of low status outgroups: untouchables, Jews outgroups 32
    • Kelly on Disgust The Entanglement Thesis• One bit of evidence supporting the Entanglement Thesis is that different components of that response are on different developmental schedules – Distaste & gape are present within the first year of life – Contamination sensitivity emerges significantly later• Once the full system in in place, the components of the response are produced together – they form a nomological cluster – Any elicitor of disgust will reliably produce all or most of those clustered components 33
    • Kelly on Disgust The Entanglement Thesis• A puzzle: puzzle – Why should the sight of a festering sore or a person with leprosy evoke a gape face and a feeling of nausea?• The solution: Disgust is a kludge! solution kludge• But it is kludge with features that could be readily co- opted and put to other uses as humans began living in larger groups and human ultrasociality emerged 34
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis 35
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis• The Gape Face as a Signal – As group size increased, there was an increasing need for a perspicuous signal warning of dangerous foods and risk of infectious disease – In humans, the face and facial expressions provide a rich source of such social information – The gape face, which clearly has roots in the facial motions face that accompany retching, was co-opted as a signal, warning signal others not just against toxic foods, but also against the foods presence of parasites and contagious pathogens 36
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis• Co-Optation by the Norm System – As group size increased, there was increased need for complex social coordination – The norm system – whose structure we considered briefly in the 2nd Lecture – played an important role in facilitating this co-ordination – And the disgust system had features that made it an obvious candidate to be co-opted by the norm system as it evolved 37
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis– The S&S model suggests that compliance motivation & punitive motivation are linked to “the emotion system” 38
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis other emotion Acquisition triggers Execution Mechanism Mechanism norm data base complianc beliefs r1---------- e r2---------- motivation r3---------- …… emotion judgment rn---------- system r o v aheb gnt acl p m Rule-related im on y i t ned i reasoning s e u evt a m on f o s ne noc r e n f i i i i capacity punitive r f motivation explicit l r ir t t reasoning Proximal Cues in Environment post-hoc justification 39
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis– But psychological & neurological evidence indicates that there are several separate emotion systems – the disgust system being one of them 40
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis other emotion Acquisition triggers Execution Mechanism Mechanism norm data base complianc beliefs r1---------- e r2---------- motivation r3---------- DISGUST …… judgment rn---------- other r o v aheb gnt acl p m Rule-related emotions im on y i t ned i reasoning s e u evt a m on f o s ne noc r e n f i i i i capacity punitive r f motivation explicit l r ir t t reasoning Proximal Cues in Environment post-hoc justification 41
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis– Disgust is a natural candidate to provide both compliance & punitive motivation for norms that involve intrinsically disgusting matters, like the disposal of corpses & bodily wastes, and other activities that are antecedently salient to the disgust system, like eating practices • Compliance is motivated by making norm violating behavior disgusting & thus aversive • Punitive motivation is provided because the violator is considered dirty and contaminated and is avoided or shunned 42
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis other emotion Acquisition triggers Execution Mechanism Mechanism norm data base complianc beliefs r1---------- e r2---------- motivation r3---------- DISGUST …… judgment rn---------- other r o v a heb gnt acl p m Rule-related emotions im on y i t ned i reasoning s e u evt a m on f o s ne noc r e n f i i i i capacity punitive r f motivation explicit l r ir t t reasoning Proximal Cues in Environment post-hoc justification 43
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis• The norm system is thus a kludge built with kludgy parts – Not surprisingly, this can lead to some very quirky and disturbing behavior – Several recent studies have focused on the fact that the disgust system can be triggered by many things that have nothing to do with norms • but even when triggered by these non-moral items, the items disgust system can have dramatic and persistent influence on a person’s judgments about moral issues 44
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis other emotion Acquisition triggers Execution Mechanism Mechanism norm data base complianc beliefs r1---------- e r2---------- motivation r3---------- DISGUST …… judgment rn---------- other r o v aheb gnt acl p m Rule-related emotions im on y i t ned i reasoning s e u evt a m on f o s ne noc r e n f i i i i capacity punitive r f motivation explicit l r ir t t reasoning Proximal Cues in Environment post-hoc justification 45
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis• Wheatley & Haidt have shown that when participants are hypnotically induced to feel a brief pang of disgust when they encounter the work “often” and then presented with the following scenario “Dan is a student council representative at his school. This semester he is in charge of scheduling discussions about academic issues. He often picks topics that appeal to both professors and students in order to stimulate discussion.”many judge that Dan is doing something wrong! wrong 46
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis• Schnall et al. have shown participants make more severe moral judgments when the judgments are made in a disgusting office: • greasy pizza boxes • sticky chair • a dried up smoothie • a chewed up pen 47
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis• Other studies have focused on prima facie irrational downstream consequences of the disgust system being triggered in moral deliberation 48
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis Downstream other emotion consequences Acquisition triggers Execution Mechanism Mechanism norm data base complianc beliefs r1---------- e r2---------- motivation r3---------- DISGUST …… judgment rn---------- other r o v a heb gnt acl p m Rule-related emotions im on yi t nedi reasoning s e u evt a m on f o s ne noc r e n f i i i i capacity punitive r f motivation explicit l r ir t t reasoning Proximal Cues in Environment post-hoc justification 49
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis• The Lady Macbeth Effect – Zhong & Liljenquist have shown that recalling an unethical deed increased the desire for products related to cleansing, like antiseptic wipes – And that cleaning one’s hands after describing a past unethical deed reduced moral emotions like guilt & shame • and also reduced the likelihood that participants would volunteer to help a desperate graduate student! 50
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis• The Lady Macbeth Effect – Schnall et al. (unpublished) compared judgments about moral severity in two groups of participants • One group had just used an alcohol-based cleansing gel on their hands • The other group had just used an ordinary, non- cleansing hand cream – The moral judgments of those using the cleansing gel were significantly less severe! 51
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis• Ethnic Boundary Markers – Boyd & Richerson & their students have argued that another crucial step in the development of human ultra- sociality was the emergence of mechanisms which allow people to recognize members of their own tribe or “ethnie” • This is important because in-group members share beliefs & norms that facilitate coordination 52
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis– Since different cuisines & eating practices are one of the more visible correlates of ethnie membership, and since disgust is heavily involved in regulating food intake, disgust was a natural candidate to be co-opted by the emerging system of ethnic identification– Eating practices of out-groups and other readily detectable signs of out-group membership came to evoke disgust– And disgust came to provided a significant part of the motivation to avoid out-group members 53
    • Kelly on Disgust The Co-Optation Thesis– Though the evolutionary function of the ethnic boundary marker system was to facilitate cooperation by keeping groups apart, the kludgy solution to this problem has some unfortunate consequences– Out-group members are not simply avoided, they are also considered offensive & contaminating– People who embrace different norms are often felt to be disgusting and sub-human! 54
    • Kludge Meets Kass 55
    • Kludge Meets Kass• Leon Kass, M.D., Ph.D. – Conservative bio-ethicist – Chairman of the U. S. A. Presidents Council on Bioethics from 2002 to 2005 56
    • Kludge Meets Kass• In his book, Life, Liberty & the Defense of Dignity (2002), there is a chapter called “The Wisdom of Repugnance”• Kass maintains that – "in crucial cases...repugnance is the emotional expression of deep wisdom, beyond reasons power fully to articulate it.” wisdom – “In this age in which everything is held to be permissible so long as it is freely done, and in which our bodies are regarded as mere instruments of our autonomous rational will, repugnance may be the only voice left that speaks up to defend the core of our humanity. Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder." shudder 57
    • Kludge Meets Kass• The claims play a central role in Kass’ critique of human cloning• Others have adopted the idea to argue against abortion, abortion pornography & same-sex marriage 58
    • Kludge Meets Kass• Some philosophers, most notably Martha Nussbaum, have challenged Kass, arguing that disgust should be discounted in moral & legal deliberation because (roughly) it reminds us of our animal origins 59
    • Kludge Meets KassI think Kelly’s work offers a far more plausible & powerful critique 60
    • Kludge Meets Kass• There is no reason to think there is wisdom in repugnance because Disgust is a Kludge and the psychological system that bases moral judgments on disgust is a Kludge twice over! 61
    • Kludge Meets Kass Anti-Jewish Nazi propaganda often invoked the imagery and language of disgust, purity, contamination & dehumanization very flagrantly A poster advertising the film The Eternal Jew Hitler described “the Jew” as “a maggot in a festering abscess, hidden away inside the clean and healthy body of the nation” 62
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• My second example draws some elegant and exciting work by Joshua Knobe which demonstrates the way in which unconscious moral judgments – judgments which an agent may explicitly reject – can nonetheless have significant impact on a range of morally relevant intuitions 63
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• In his new book, Kluge, Gary Marcus argues that more recently evolved, computationally slow and consciously accessible mental processes – “System 2 Processes” in the currently fashionable jargon – were grafted onto older (System 1) psychological systems designed for quite different purposes• The resulting kludgy architecture accounts for many of the quirks and shortcomings that contemporary cognitive science has discovered 64
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• I think that Knobe’s work provides an important & disquieting illustration of this phenomenon in the moral domain 65
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• The story begins with “the side effect effect” (aka the Knobe effect) – one of best known and most surprising finding in the emerging field of experimental philosophy• Knobe (2003) reports an experiment in which participants were presented with a pair of almost identical vignettes 66
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional ActionThe vice-president of a company went to the chairman ofthe board and said, ‘We are thinking of starting a newprogram. It will help us increase profits, but it will alsoharm [help] the environment.’ helpThe chairman of the board answered, ‘I don’t care at allabout harming [helping] the environment. I just want to helpingmake as much profit as I can. Let’s start the newprogram.’They started the new program. Sure enough, theenvironment was harmed [helped]. helped 67
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• In the harm case, participants were asked how much blame the chairman deserved (on a scale from 0 – 6) and whether he intentionally harmed the environment• In the help case, participants were asked how much praise the chairman deserved (on a scale from 0 – 6) and whether he intentionally helped the environment – In the harm case, 82% said the chairman brought about the side-effect intentionally – In the help case, 77% said the chairman did not bring about the side-effect intentionally 68
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• Knobe’s initial hypothesis was that people’s moral assessment of the side-effect plays a substantial role in determining whether they are willing to say that the side- effect was brought about intentionally – A judgment that the side-effect is morally bad makes it more likely that it will be judged to be intentional – Though this seems incompatible with the widespread idea that judgments of intentionality are judgments about a purely factual matter, it does have an obvious rationale matter since judgments about whether an action is intentional play a central role in determining whether an agent deserves praise or blame 69
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• Subsequent research showed that, if the hypothesis is understood as a claim about the effect of moral judgments that people consciously make, this hypothesis make is mistaken• The problem emerges clearly in study Knobe ran in collaboration with David Pizarro & Paul Bloom 70
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• Liberal university students were given Knobe-style vignettes in which an advertising executive approves an ad campaign which has the side-effect of encouraging interracial sex or placing gardenias in one’s office 71
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• None of the participants judged that inter- racial sex (or placing gardenias) is morally wrong• But participants were much more inclined to say that the executive intentionally encouraged interracial sex• Explicit moral judgments cannot explain the difference in judgments about the intention-ality of the side-effects 72
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• However, (following Pizarro & Bloom) Knobe has recently proposed that perhaps participants were making non- conscious normative judgments that the behavior in question violates a norm that is made salient by the question or situation, even if it is a norm that they explicitly reject 73
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• The picture Knobe now proposes looks like this: “In reaching a conscious moral judgment, we can consider judgment a variety of different moral norms, weigh these norms against each other, perhaps even determine that some of the norms are themselves unjustified.” 74
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• Non-conscious moral judgments are formed through a much simpler (system-1 style) process – They are formed extremely quickly and therefore involve very shallow processing – In generating a non-conscious moral judgment, the only norms we consider are the ones that first come to mind. mind We do not search for additional norms; we do not weigh norms against each other; we do not ask whether any of the norms might themselves be unjustified. unjustified 75
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action – Instead, we simply determine whether the behavior in question violates any of the norms in the very limited set we are considering – If it does, we classify it as a transgression. It is this judgment transgression as to whether or not the behavior is a transgression that then influences our intuitions about intentional action. 76
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• The theory predicts that the most salient norms evoked by a given case will be the ones used to in making intentionality judgments, even if subsequent reflection leads the agent to think that there is nothing wrong with violating the norm – or that doing so would be a very good thing.• Here is a vignette that Knobe has recently used to test this idea 77
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action In Nazi Germany, there was a law called the ‘racial identification law.’ The purpose of the law was to help identify people of certain races so that they could be rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Shortly after this law was passed, the CEO of a small corporation decided to make certain organizational changes. The Vice-President of the corporation said: “By making those changes, you’ll definitely be increasing our profits. But you’ll also be violating [fulfilling] the fulfilling requirements of the racial identification law.” The CEO said: “Look, I know that I’ll be violating [fulfilling] the requirements of the law, but I fulfilling don’t care one bit about that. All I care about is making as much profit as I can. Let’s make those organizational changes!” As soon as the CEO gave this order, the corporation began making the organizational changes. – 81% of subjects in the violate condition said that he violated the requirements intentionally; 30% of subjects in the fulfill condition said that he fulfilled the requirements intentionally. 78
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• Knobe’s theory is certainly not the last word on how intentionality judgments are generated – His work has inspired dozens of other researchers • there are many studies I have not mentioned • and many others are underway 79
    • Knobe on Norms and Intentional Action• However, IF Knobe’s theory is on the right track, then intentionality judgments are a product of a kludgy architecture which can be influenced by norms and judgments which the agent – is not aware of, and of – does not endorse• This raises serious questions about the use of those judgments in further moral deliberation, or in the law deliberation 80
    • From Kludginess to Skepticism• Both Kelly’s & Knobe’s work support the hypothesis that motivates this talkThe psychological mechanism underlying moral intuition is A Hodgepodge of Multipurpose Kludges 81
    • From Kludginess to Skepticism• Suppose that’s right. What should we conclude about moral intuition? – The answer is NOT that all moral intuition should be rejected • nor even that intuitions that are closely tied to kludgy features of the mind should be rejected – For, as Shaun Nichols has argued, some of the most admirable features of the cultural evolution of norms – including the increased scope and acceptance of norms prohibiting physical harm – are the products of kludgy design 82
    • From Kludginess to Skepticism• Rather, I suggest, the right conclusion to draw is that ALL moral intuitions should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism – The mechanisms that give rise to them may not have been well designed to do anything – So we should be skeptical about moral intuitions for roughly the same reason that we should be skeptical of the output of a kludgy piece of computer software 83
    • From Kludginess to Skepticism• Compare and Contrast – The friends of intuition (e.g. moral sense theorists) think the system producing them is well designed for morally admirable goals • though it can sometimes misfire when conditions are unfavorable – Previous enemies of intuition (e.g. Singer) think the system producing them has been well designed for morally problematic goals – We believe that the system producing them is a kludge – much of it has not been well designed at all! 84
    • From Kludginess to Skepticism• But if we should be skeptical about all intuition, how can we go about making moral decisions?• That’s a BIG question & a HARD one. one – Perhaps I’ll be able to suggest an answer … 85
    • From Kludginess to Skepticism…the next time I come to Paris 86