Implicit Attitudes, Social Learning, and Moral Credibility

Authored by: Michael Brownstein

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the Social Mind

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138827691
eBook ISBN: 9781315530178
Adobe ISBN: 9781315530161


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Dichotomous frameworks for understanding human decision-making often distinguish between spontaneous or intuitive judgments, on the one hand, and deliberative, reasoned judgments, on the other. The precise qualities thought to characterize these two kinds of judgments – sometimes aggregated under the headings “System I” and “System II” – change from theory to theory. 2 Recent years, however, have seen a shift in dual systems theorizing from attempts to specify the precise qualities that characterize these two kinds of judgments to descriptions of the distinct neural and computational mechanisms that underlie them. In turn, these mechanisms are coming to be a focal point for the current incarnation of a long-standing debate about whether and why spontaneous judgments are ever good guides for decision-making and action. 3 Do our intuitions, emotional reactions, and unreasoned judgments ever have authority for us? Are they morally credible? On the one hand, one might think that the nature of the neural and computational systems underlying spontaneous judgments demonstrates that they are paradigmatically short-sighted and morally untrustworthy. On the other hand, the nature of these mechanisms might vindicate at least a defeasible authority accorded to our spontaneous judgments in some circumstances.

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