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Moral Intuitions and Heuristics: Initial Evaluation

moral vs mathematical intuitions

To evaluate the theoretical argument we have considered, due to Sinnott-Armstrong et al, 2010, I want to compare moral with mathematical intuitions (ie. unreflective judgements)
consider an analogy

What do adult humans compute that enables their unreflective judgements to track mathematical attributes?

1. Mathematical attributes are inaccessible.

2. Unreflective mathematical judgements are (often enough) fast.

3. Computing inaccessible attributes is slow.

Therefore:

4. Making unreflective mathematical judgements does not involve computing mathematical attributes.

Now you might initially be persuaded by this argument. Looking for an accessible attribute, you might hit on luminance or some other low-level, visual property of the stimulus ...
Example involving a mathematic intuition: which box contains more discs?

luminance?

The problem is, luminance is controlled for. As are all low-level visual properties. Further, mathematical intuitions appear to be amodal. So the chances of finding an accessible attribute look very low.
consider an analogy

What do adult humans compute that enables their unreflective judgements to track mathematical attributes?

1. Mathematical attributes are inaccessible.

2. Unreflective mathematical judgements are (often enough) fast.

3. Computing inaccessible attributes is slow.

Therefore:

4. Making unreflective mathematical judgements does not involve computing mathematical attributes.

I think something has clearly gone wrong with this argument. But which claim should we reject?
If you think about how accessibility is defined (see handout), these aren’t really different claims.

also: compare linguistic intuitions

[1] He is a waffling fatberg of lies.

[2]* A waffling fatberg lies of he is.

To conclude. We haven’t shown that Sinnott-Armstrong et al (2010)’s view is wrong, but we have shown that it can’t be defended on their narrowly theoretical considerations.

Do moral intuitions rely on the affect heuristic?

theoretical arguments limited;

evidence needed

But what evidence could bear on the issue?

Because evidence is needed, we need to consider what kind of evidence there coud be. To this end, we need to think more carefully about other cases in which reliance on the affect heuristic has been experimentally established ...