The Echoes of the Mind (163) Moral Reasoning

Moral Reasoning

Moral reasoning does not cause moral judgment. ~ American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt

In contrast to innate, reflexive sense of fairness, moral reasoning provides post hoc justification of a judgment already made.

Logic provides no impetus to moral determination. Quite the contrary: cognition douses the flames of morality.

People can deliberately construe a wide variety of actions through either a moral or a non-moral lens with different consequences for their evaluations. ~ Jay Van Bavel

Practicality readily overrides morality.

People may act in ways that violate their moral values when they make decisions in terms of pragmatic concerns – dollars and cents – rather than in a moral frame. ~ American psychologist Dominic Packer

The human moral compass is inherently shaky. People are easily confused by ethical questions and may reverse previously held ethical beliefs with little or no new information.

People tend to make systematically different judgments when they face a moral dilemma in a foreign language than in their native language. ~ Spanish psychologist Albert Costa et al

How a situation is framed makes a world of difference in how it is ethically evaluated. Moral judgments are quick and harsh, bound to the conviction that others should concur. In contrast, pragmatic cogitations are slow, and conclusions malleable.

Being steeped in morality makes no difference. Ethicists are no better behaved than the average Joe.

It is ironic that people with easy morals are considered reasonable, while principled people are not. That makes the very idea of “moral reasoning” a canard.