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Philosophy Forum: Reasoning in Moral Judgment

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by skultety

Dr. Danielle Wylie

Mississippi State University

April 23rd from 4:00-5:30 in Bryant Hall Room 209

“Reasoning in Moral Judgment”


“In this paper, I aim to clarify our understanding of Psychological Moral Rationalism (PMR) – the view that reasoning is the primary process responsible for moral judgments. Recently, PMR has been treated as a non-starter, as it fails to account for new data in moral psychology. However, I argue that the typical way of understanding PMR is not the only way. I show that the view can vary along a number of dimensions, including how we understand reasoning (as descriptive or normative, as conscious or unconscious) and how we understand the role of reasoning in forming moral judgments (as sufficient, necessary, or playing some other part). I then consider the two most prominent sources of data that have grounded objections to PMR – moral dumbfounding and evidence from psychopathy. I argue that both objections depend on the sort of unnecessary assumptions about the limitations of PMR discussed earlier in the paper. In particular, these objections rely on assumptions that reasoning must be conscious and that it must be wholly sufficient for moral judgment.”


The format of this event will be a workshop of Dr. Wylie’s paper.  Requests for an advance copy of the paper can be directed to Dr. Donovan Wishon (  More information about future UM Philosophy Forum events can be found on the department calendar at