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Evaluative focus: A dual-process view of moral judgment

Hannikainen, Ivar (2014) Evaluative focus: A dual-process view of moral judgment. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

Hannikainen PhD dissertation Sheffield 2014.pdf
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In this dissertation, I aim to develop an empirical account of moral judgment. Chapter 1 lays some philosophical and methodological groundwork. Next, in Chapters 2 and 3, I review and critically discuss past literature on moral judgment. In recent decades, automaticity research has led to the view that our social judgments are conducted automatically, and uncontrolled by conscious reasoning. In Chapter 2, I push back against this view, arguing that moral judgments are readily shaped by reasoning processes. Next, in Chapter 3, I differentiate a few empirical claims about the relationship between affective processes and moral judgment, and I arbitrate between them. I then aim to characterize the psychological processes that cause these affective responses, arguing for the involvement of a sensory and motor simulation of the behavior. This exercise gives rise to new empirical hypotheses, which are then tested in Chapters 4 and 5. In Chapter 4, I present a collaborative, empirical study that examines the aversions to harmful and disgusting behavior. Our results suggest that – across both purity and harm –condemnation of immoral behavior arises principally from a personal aversion to performing the target action, which shapes third-party judgments through the partly unconscious simulation of the agent’s perspective. In Chapter 5, I present some analyses that examine the broader influence of evaluative focus on moral and political attitudes. Finally, Chapter 6 argues that the proposed psychological account of moral judgment is consistent with evidence from a wider range of disciplines, from neuroscience and animal cognition, to evolutionary theory and sociology of religion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Philosophy (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605515
Depositing User: Dr Ivar Hannikainen
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2014 13:11
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:16
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6362

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