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\title {Moral Psychology \\ Core Seminar}

\maketitle

# Point-and-Shoot Morality

\def \ititle {Core Seminar}
\def \isubtitle {Point-and-Shoot Morality}
\begin{center}
{\Large
\textbf{\ititle}: \isubtitle
}

\iemail %
\end{center}
I want to approach this topic indirectly ...
First point: we don’t base our understanding of the physical on common-sense.

‘In putting forward an account of light, the first point I want to draw to your attention is that it is possible for there to be a difference between the sensation that we have of it, that is, the idea that we form of it in our imagination through the intermediary of our eyes, and what it is in the objects that produces the sensation in us, that is, what it is in the flame or in the Sun that we term ‘light’

\citep[][p. 81 (AT XI:3)]{descartes:1998_world}

Descartes, The World (AT 3)

This quote is quite complex. Let's try to simplify. (Do this when quoting in your own work.)
Note that this is Descartes’ starting point (in an early work that was never published because of fear of religious repression.)
Further illustration (not from The World). Descartes’ explanation of why the rainbow is a bow. Relevant because of the gap between sensory perception and the things which cause it. And shows Descartes examines sensory perceptions.

sensory perceptions
do not reveal
the natures of physical phenomena

\section{Perceiving Impetus}

representational momentum

Sometimes when adult humans observe a moving object that disappears, they will misremember the location of its disappearance in way that reflects its momentum; this effect is called \emph{representational momentum} \citep{freyd:1984_representational,hubbard:2010_rm}.
The trajectories implied by representational momentum reveal that the effect reflects impetus mechanics rather than Newtonian principles \citep{freyd:1994_representational,kozhevnikov:2001_impetus,hubbard:2001_representational,hubbard:2013_launching}. And these trajectories are independent of subjects' scientific knowledge \citep{freyd:1994_representational,kozhevnikov:2001_impetus}. Representational momentum therefore reflects judgement-independent expectations about objects’ movements which track momentum in accordance with a principle of impetus.% \footnote{ Note that momentum is only one of several factors which may influence mistakes about the location at which a moving object disappears \citep[p.\ 842]{hubbard:2005_representational}. %: %\begin{quote} %The empirical evidence is clear that (1) displacement does not always correspond to predictions based on physical principles and (2) variables unrelated to physical principles (e.g., the presence of landmarks, target identity, or expectations regarding a change in target direction) can influence displacement.' % %... % %information based on a naive understanding of physical principles or on subjective consequences of physical principles appears to be just one of many types of information that could potentially contribute to the displacement of any given target' %\end{quote} }

Hubbard 2005, figure 1a; redrawn from Freyd and Finke 1984, figure 1

Hubbard 2005, figure 1b; drawn from Freyd and Finke 1984, table 1

\textbf{Representational momentum suggests that there are automatic processes which predict the future trajectories of physical objects.}

Kozhevnikov & Hegarty (2001, figure 1)

Fix shape and density. How would increasing the object’s size affect how quickly it decelerates when launched vertically? Impetus: larger size entails greater deceleration (so slower ascent). Newtonian: larger size entails lower deceleration (so faster ascent) if considering air resistance; otherwise size makes no difference.

simplified from Kozhevnikov & Hegarty (2001)

simplified from Kozhevnikov & Hegarty (2001)

This is a doubly exciting result.
It allows us to run the Argument From Jein: \textbf{a conjecture about multiple systems can sometimes be distinguished from a competing conjecture about a single system because multiple systems make possible what a single system rule out: incompatible responses to a single stimulus.}
But even more convincingly, the prediction generated by Kozhevnikov and Heggarty’s conjecture about the computational description of the system underpinning representational momentum has been directly confirmed.
So while not decisive, I take this to be strong evidence for a \textbf{vertical distinction} between two systems for physical cognition.
Let me pause to spell out the pattern as I think Kozhevnikov and Heggarty have provided us with a good model for evaluating claims about vertical distinctions between two systems.
They were let to a conjecture about the computational description by reflection on the fact that \textbf{any broadly inferrential process must make a trade-off between speed and accuracy}.

To extrapolate objects’ motion on the basis of [e.g. Newtonian] physical principles, one should have assessed and evaluated the presence and magnitude of such imperceptible forces as friction and air resistance ... This would require a time-consuming analysis that is not always possible.

‘In order to have a survival advantage, the process of extrapolation should be fast and effortless, without much conscious deliberation.

Impetus theory allows us to extrapolate objects’ motion quickly and without large demands on attentional resources.’

Kozhevnikov and Heggarty (2001, p. 450)

Perceptual processes, like all cognitive processes, involve speed-accuracy trade-offs.

Being uncritically guided by perceptual processes would limit us to Aristotelian theories of the physical.

To make discoveries about the physical, go beyond the Aristotelian project.

ethics?

You might think that here, at least, science must be irrelevant, but not according to Greene (among others) ...

‘Science can advance ethics by revealing the hidden inner workings of our moral judgments, especially the ones we make intuitively. Once those inner workings are revealed we may have less confidence in some of [...] the ethical theories that are explicitly or implicitly based on them’

Greene, 2014 pp. 695--6

Aim is to understand and evaluate this claim.

Switch

Vicki [...] notices an empty boxcar rolling out of control. [...] anyone it hits will die. [...] If Vicki does nothing, the boxcar will hit the five people on the main track [...] If Vicki flips a switch next to her, it will divert the boxcar to the side track where it will hit the one person [...]

Flipping the switch is: [1:2:3:4:5:6:7]:[extremely morally good:::neither good nor bad:::extremely morally bad]

Switch

\emph{Switch}

Vicki [...] notices an empty boxcar rolling out of control. [...] anyone it hits will die. [...] If Vicki does nothing, the boxcar will hit the five people on the main track [...] If Vicki flips a switch next to her, it will divert the boxcar to the side track where it will hit the one person [...]

Flipping the switch is: [extremely morally good:::neither good nor bad:::extremely morally bad]

Drop

\emph{Drop}

Mary [...] notices an empty boxcar rolling out of control. [...] anyone it hits will die. [...] If Mary does nothing, the boxcar will hit the five people on the track. If Mary pulls a lever it will release the bottom of the footbridge and [...] one person will fall onto the track, where the boxcar will hit the one person, slow down because of the one person, and not hit the five people farther down the track.

Pulling the lever is: [extremely morally good:::neither good nor bad:::extremely morally bad]

puzzle 1

Why do people tend to respond differently in Switch and Drop?

To solve the puzzle we have to think about the role of emotion in unreflective moral judgements ...

Schwitzgebel & Cushman, 2015 figure 2 (part)

order effects. \citep[figure~2 (part)]{schwitzgebel:2015_philosophers}
Order effects block things like appeal to doctrine of double effect.

puzzle 1

Why do people tend to respond differently in Switch and Drop? (And why are there order effects?)

Another puzzle ...

another puzzle

Do try this at home!
But is Isabel dumbfounded? Maybe briefly. But is that significant? Hard to measure ...

Moral dumbfounding shows that some ethical judgements are not consequences of reasoning from known principles

Other phenomena (e.g. moral disengagement) indicate that some ethical judgements are consequences of reasoning from known principles

The important thing for me isn’t whether you find the argument compelling or not. There’s surely much more to say. It’s that the motivating for it gives us a good question, a puzzle even.

puzzle 2

Why are ethical judgements sometimes, but not always, a consequence of reasoning from known principles?

To solve the puzzle we have to think about the role of emotion in unreflective moral judgements ...

## Emotion Drives Unreflective Ethical Judgements

\section{Emotion Drives Unreflective Ethical Judgements}

\section{Emotion Drives Unreflective Ethical Judgements}

Theoretical Claim: Emotion influences unreflective ethical judgements.

Prediction: Manipulating subjects’ emotions will influence their unreflective ethical judgements.

How to intervene on emotion? Here’s the video they used to instill disgust.
In other experiments, they triggered disgust by (i) creating a fart smell, (ii) putting participants in a dirty environment, and (iii) asking them to write about disgusting events in their own lives.
Seems like (i) and (ii) might contrast with (iii) and the video in providing unattributed feelings of disgust.
[just for me -- skip]

Schnall et al, 2008 Experiment 4

3 groups: induce disgust, sadness or neither using video clips

‘The sadness clip (from The Champ) portrayed the death of a boy’s mentor, the disgust clip (from Trainspotting) portrayed a man using an unsanitary toilet, and the neutral clip (from a National Geographic special) portrayed fish at the Great Barrier Reef’ \citep{lerner:2004_heart}.

Judge how wrong an action is in six vignettes

Half the vignettes involve disgusting actions.

Predictions:

Disgust (but not sadness) will influence moral judgements,

irrespective of whether the actions judged are disgusting.

Complication: Private Body Consciousness

Result: ‘disgust influenced moral judgment similarly for both disgust and nondisgust vignettes’.

Six vignettes (also used in Experiment 2):
‘Three of these vignettes involved a moral violation with disgust—Dog (a man who ate his dead dog), Plane Crash (starving survivors of a plane crash consider cannibalism), and Kitten (a man deriving sexual pleasure from playing with a kitten)—and three of the vignettes involved a moral violation with no disgust—Wallet (finding a wallet and not returning it to its owner), Resume (a person falsifying his resume), and Trolley (preventing the death of five men by killing one man). The instructions told participants to go with their initial intuitions when responding’ \citep[p.~1100]{schnall:2008_disgust}
Private Body Consciousness: ‘Miller, Murphy, and Buss (1981) devised a scale to measure people’s general attention to internal physical states, which they refer to as Private Body Consciousness (PBC)‘ \citep[p.~1100]{schnall:2008_disgust}.
\subsection{Vignettes from Schnall et al (2008) Experiment 4}
\emph{Dog} Frank’s dog was killed by a car in front of his house. Frank had heard that in China people occasionally eat dog meat, and he was curious what it tasted like. So he cut up the body and cooked it and ate it for dinner. How wrong is it for Frank to eat his dead dog for dinner?
\emph{Plane Crash} Your plane has crashed in the Himalayas. The only survivors are yourself, another man, and a young boy. The three of you travel for days, battling extreme cold and wind. Your only chance at survival is to find your way to a small village on the other side of the mountain, several days away. The boy has a broken leg and can- not move very quickly. His chances of surviving the journey are essentially zero. Without food, you and the other man will probably die as well. The other man suggests that you sacrifice the boy and eat his remains over the next few days. How wrong is it to kill this boy so that you and the other man may survive your journey to safety?
\emph{Wallet} You are walking down the street when you come across a wallet lying on the ground. You open the wal- let and find that it contains several hundred dollars in cash as well the owner’s driver’s license. From the credit cards and other items in the wallet it’s very clear that the wallet’s owner is wealthy. You, on the other hand, have been hit by hard times recently and could really use some extra money. You consider sending the wallet back to the owner without the cash, keeping the cash for yourself. How wrong is it for you to keep the money you found in the wallet in order to have more money for yourself?
\emph{Resume} You have a friend who has been trying to find a job lately without much success. He figured that he would be more likely to get hired if he had a more impressive resume. He decided to put some false information on his resume in order to make it more impressive. By doing this he ultimately managed to get hired, beating out several candidates who were actually more qualified than he. How wrong was it for your friend to put false information on his resume in order to help him find employment?
\emph{Kitten} Matthew is playing with his new kitten late one night. He is wearing only his boxer shorts, and the kit- ten sometimes walks over his genitals. Eventually, this arouses him, and he begins to rub his bare genitals along the kitten’s body. The kitten purrs, and seems to enjoy the contact. How wrong is it for Matthew to be rubbing himself against the kitten?
\emph{Trolley} You are at the wheel of a runaway trolley quickly approaching a fork in the tracks. On the tracks extend- ing to the left is a group of five railway workmen. On the tracks extending to the right is a single railway workman. If you do nothing the trolley will proceed to the left, causing the deaths of the five workmen. The only way to avoid the deaths of these workmen is to hit a switch on your dashboard that will cause the trolley to proceed to the right, causing the death of the single workman. How wrong is it for you to hit the switch in order to avoid the deaths of the five workmen?

Schnall et al, 2008 figure 3

Showing results from Experiment 4. Induce either Disgust or Sadness or neithre using a video clip. Then make moral judgements.
‘For high-PBC [Private Body Consciousness] (but not low-PBC) people, our disgust manipulations increased the severity of moral condemnation relative to the neutral conditions’ \citep[p.~1105]{schnall:2008_disgust}

Schnall et al, 2008 conclusions:

‘the effect of disgust applies regardless of whether the action to be judged is itself disgusting.

Second, [...] disgust influenced moral, but not additional nonmoral, judgments.

These nonmoral judgements concerned policies. ‘Six public policy items asked participants to rate whether they would support these pro- posals if they were up for a vote in the U.S. Congress on a scale from 0 (strongly oppose) to 9 (strongly support). Three items involved issues of contamination or guarding borders (i.e., spending more money for waste treatment, spending more money to “patrol the borders” against ille- gal immigrants, and making it easier for the government to “expel foreigners” with suspected links to terrorism). The other three issues did not involve such themes (i.e., allowing nondenominational school prayer, increasing federal funding for social science research, and decreasing the number of students per classroom).’ \citep[p.~1100]{schnall:2008_clean}

Third, because the effect occurred most strongly for people who were sensitive to their own bodily cues, the results appear to concern feelings of disgust rather than merely the primed concept of disgust.

Fourth, [...] induced sadness did not have similar effects.’

\citep[pp.~1105--6]{schnall:2008_disgust}

Schnall et al, 2008 pp. 1105--6

Theoretical Claim: Emotion influences unreflective ethical judgements.

Prediction: Manipulating subjects’ emotions will influence their unreflective ethical judgements.

## Dual Process Theories

\section{Dual Process Theories}

\section{Dual Process Theories}
‘response 1’ is a variable representing which response the subject will give. [Which values it takes will depend on what sort of response it is (e.g. a verbal response, proactive gaze, button press.) We can think of it as taking three values, one for correct belief tracking, one for fact tracking, and one for any other response.]
‘process 1’ and ‘process 2’ are variables which each represent whether a certain kind of ethical process will occur and, if so, what it’s outcome is.
And the arrows show that the probability that response 1 will have a certain value is influenced by the value of the variables process 1 and process 2 (and by other things not included in the model). So it should be possible to intervene on the value of ‘process 1’ in order to bring about a change in the value of ‘response 1’.
[I’ve used thicker and thinner arrows informally to indicate stronger and weaker dependence. Strictly speaking the width has no meaning and this model doesn’t specify exactly how the values of variables are related, only that they are.]

Dual Process Theory of Ethical Abilities (core part)

Two (or more) ethical processes are distinct:
the conditions which influence whether they occur,
and which outputs they generate,
do not completely overlap.

Ok, that’s what the theory says. But what does it mean?
Actually we don’t need to consider more than one response for the present since there is no evidence concerning multiple types of response (alas!).

\subsection{Dilemma}
‘You are part of a group of ecologists who live in a remote stretch of jungle. The entire group, which includes eight children, has been taken hostage by a group of paramilitary terrorists. One of the terrorists takes a liking to you. He informs you that his leader intends to kill you and the rest of the hostages the following morning.
‘He is willing to help you and the children escape, but as an act of good faith he wants you to kill one of your fellow hostages whom he does not like. If you refuse his offer all the hostages including the children and yourself will die. If you accept his offer then the others will die in the morning but you and the eight children will escape.
‘Would you kill one of your fellow hostages in order to escape from the terrorists and save the lives of the eight children?’ \citep{koenigs:2007_damage}

Terminology

‘consequentialist response’ = yes, kill one of your fellow hostages

[For later: \citet{gawronski:2017_consequences}’s criticism about binary choices not properly relfecting the fully range of possibilities (e.g. because a negative answer might reflect a preference for inaction).]

One process makes fewer demands on scarce cognitive resources than the other.

(Terminology: fast vs slow)

The slow process is responsible for consequentialist responses; the fast for other responses.

What are ‘consequentialist responses’? Those responses where a moral judgement that would be correct on a simple consequentialist theory.

Prediction: Increasing cognitive load will selectively slow consequentialist responses

Greene et al 2008, figure 1

time pressure study

One process makes fewer demands on scarce cognitive resources than the other.

(Terminology: fast vs slow)

The slow process is responsible for consequentialist responses; the fast for other responses.

Prediction: Limiting the time available to make a decision will reduce consequentialist responses.

time pressure study

Trémolière and Bonnefon, 2014 figure 4

‘The model detected a significant effect of time pressure, p = .03 (see Table 1), suggesting that the slope of utilitarian responses was steeper for participants under time pressure. As is visually clear in Figure 4, participants under time pressure gave less utilitarian responses than control par- ticipants to scenarios featuring low kill–save ratios, but reached the same rates of utilitarian responses for the highest kill–save ratios.’ \citep[p.~927]{tremoliere:2014_efficient}
\textbf{*todo*} [save for later, more drama: [also mention \citep{gawronski:2018_effects} p.~1006 ‘reinterpreation’ and p.~992 descriptive vs mechanistsic]] \citet[p.~669]{gawronski:2017_what} argue for an alternative interpretation: The central findings of \citet{tremoliere:2014_efficient} ‘show that outcomes did influence moral judgments, but only when participants were under cognitive load or time pressure (i.e., the white bars do not significantly differ from the gray bars within the low load and no time pressure condi- tions, but they do significantly differ within the high load and time pressure conditions). Thus, a more appro- priate interpretation of these data is that cognitive load and time pressure increased utilitarian responding, which stands in stark contrast to the widespread assumption that utilitarian judgments are the result of effortful cognitive processes (Greene et al., 2008; Suter & Hertwig, 2011).
So this is our dual process theory of ethical abilities.

Dual Process Theory of Ethical Abilities (core part)

Two (or more) ethical processes are distinct:
the conditions which influence whether they occur,
and which outputs they generate,
do not completely overlap.

## Dual Process Theories Meet the Puzzles

\section{Dual Process Theories Meet the Puzzles}

\section{Dual Process Theories Meet the Puzzles}

puzzle 1

Why do people tend to respond differently in Switch and Drop?

puzzle 2

Why are ethical judgements sometimes, but not always, a consequence of reasoning from known principles?

I think it is clear that our core dual process theory cannot solve them. The key is to elaborate on the nature of the processes.
So this is our dual process theory of ethical abilities.

Dual Process Theory of Ethical Abilities (core part)

Two (or more) ethical processes are distinct:
the conditions which influence whether they occur,
and which outputs they generate,
do not completely overlap.

‘a dual-process approach in which moral judgment is the product of both intuitive and rational psychological processes, and it is the product of what are conventionally thought of as ‘affective’ and ‘cognitivemechanisms’

\citep[p.~48]{cushman:2010_multi}.

Cushman et al, 2010 p. 48

I like to think of this contrast in terms of demands on scarce cognitive resources.
Here is the link to emotion.

puzzle 1

Why do people tend to respond differently in Switch and Drop?

puzzle 2

Why are ethical judgements sometimes, but not always, a consequence of reasoning from known principles?

‘Indirect Route’

‘genetic transmission, cultural transmission, and learning from personal experience [...] are the only mechanisms known to endow [...] automatic [...] processes with the information they need to function well’

Greene 2014, p. 714

unfamiliar* problems = ‘ones with which we have inadequate evolutionary, cultural, or personal experience’

‘it would be a cognitive miracle if we had reliably good moral instincts about unfamiliar* moral problems’

‘The No Cognitive Miracles Principle:

When we are dealing with unfamiliar* moral problems, we ought to rely less on [...] automatic emotional responses and more on [...] conscious, controlled reasoning, lest we bank on cognitive miracles.’

Greene, 2014 p. 715

Switch

Vicki [...] notices an empty boxcar rolling out of control. [...] anyone it hits will die. [...] If Vicki does nothing, the boxcar will hit the five people on the main track [...] If Vicki flips a switch next to her, it will divert the boxcar to the side track where it will hit the one person [...]

Flipping the switch is: [extremely morally good:::neither good nor bad:::extremely morally bad]

Drop

Mary [...] notices an empty boxcar rolling out of control. [...] anyone it hits will die. [...] If Mary does nothing, the boxcar will hit the five people on the track. If Mary pulls a lever it will release the bottom of the footbridge and [...] one person will fall onto the track, where the boxcar will hit the one person, slow down because of the one person, and not hit the five people farther down the track.

Pulling the lever is: [extremely morally good:::neither good nor bad:::extremely morally bad]

‘I strongly suspect that [Drop] is unfamiliar*, a bizarre case in which an act of personal violence against an innocent person is the one and only way to promote a much greater good.’

Greene, 2014 p. 716

conclusion

In conclusion, ...

Perceptual processes, like all cognitive processes, involve speed-accuracy trade-offs.

Being uncritically guided by perceptual processes would limit us to Aristotelian theories of the physical.

While I suspect Greene is wrong on almost every detail, I think something similar is true in the ethical case.
Of course we should also consider other analogies, e.g. communicative abilities.

cuts