Bias and Reasoning: Haidt’s Theory of Moral Judgment

According to Haidt’s Social Intuitionist Model (SIM) of moral judgment, most moral judgments are generated by the intuitive process and the purpose of reasoning is to provide a post hoc and biased basis for justification. The SIM is of great importance for moral philosophers because if the SIM were an accurate description of how we arrive at our moral judgments, the evidential weight of most of our moral judgments may be undercut. In this paper, I question Haidt’s claim that reasoning provides a biased basis for justification by challenging his claim that reasoning is biased. After presenting the tendencies that, according to Haidt, make reasoning biased, I draw on the literature on epistemic justification to show that these tendencies are not always biases. If I am right, it is premature to claim that our reasoning is biased, and that the purpose of reasoning is to provide a biased basis for justification. [In New Waves in Ethics, ed. Thom Brooks. Palgrave, forthcoming] [pdf | html]

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Oct 5th, 2010 | By | Category: Latest Research, Moral Psychology

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