What makes us moral beings? How do we decide what is good and what is evil? And has it always been that way? A grand history of our universal moral values at the moment of, perhaps, their greatest crisis. An eye-opening tour de force through 5 million years of human history.
This book reimagines the history of our morality: From the emergence of human cooperation 5 million years ago to the recent crises of moral polarization. With philosophical expertise and empirical data, the author explains how processes of biological, cultural, social, and historical evolution shaped the moral grammar that defines our present.
Seven chapters recount the crucial moral upheavals of human history. It is shown how the emergence of humankind 5 million years ago, the rise of first civilizations 5,000 years ago, or the dynamics of moral progress in the last 50 years are connected.
In recent research, dual-process theories of cognition have been the primary model for explaining moral judgment and reasoning. These theories understand moral thinking in terms of two separate domains: one deliberate and analytic, the other quick and instinctive.
This book presents a new theory of the philosophy and cognitive science of moral judgment. Hanno Sauer develops and defends an account of “triple-process” moral psychology, arguing that moral thinking and reasoning are only insufficiently understood when described in terms of a quick but intuitive and a slow but rational type of cognition. This approach severely underestimates the importance and impact of dispositions to initiate and engage in critical thinking—the cognitive resource in charge of counteracting my-side bias, closed-mindedness, dogmatism, and breakdowns of self-control. Moral cognition is based, not on emotion and reason, but on an integrated network of intuitive, algorithmic and reflective thinking.
Thoroughly researched, systematically developed and empirically informed, this book is an original contribution to the literature on debunking arguments in ethics and the reliability of moral cognition.
In this crisply written book, Hanno Sauer offers the first book-length treatment of debunking arguments in ethics, developing an empirically informed and philosophically sophisticated account of genealogical arguments and their significance for the reliability of moral cognition. He breaks new ground by introducing a series of novel distinctions into the current debate, which allows him to develop a framework for assessing the prospects of debunking or vindicating our moral intuitions. He also challenges the justification of some of our moral judgments by showing that they are based on epistemically defective processes. His book is an original, cutting-edge contribution to the burgeoning field of empirically informed metaethics, and will interest philosophers, psychologists, and anyone interested in how—and whether—moral judgment works.
An argument that moral reasoning plays a crucial role in moral judgment through episodes of rational reflection that have established patterns for automatic judgment foundation.
Rationalists about the psychology of moral judgment argue that moral cognition has a rational foundation. Recent challenges to this account, based on findings in the empirical psychology of moral judgment, contend that moral thinking has no rational basis. In this book, Hanno Sauer argues that moral reasoning does play a role in moral judgment—but not, as is commonly supposed, because conscious reasoning produces moral judgments directly. Moral reasoning figures in the acquisition, formation, maintenance, and reflective correction of moral intuitions. Sauer proposes that when we make moral judgments we draw on a stable repertoire of intuitions about what is morally acceptable, which we have acquired over the course of our moral education—episodes of rational reflection that have established patterns for automatic judgment foundation. Moral judgments are educated and rationally amenable moral intuitions.