When Push Comes to Shove—The Moral Fiction of Reason-Based Situational Control and the Embodied Nature of Judgment

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Title: When Push Comes to Shove—The Moral Fiction of Reason-Based Situational Control and the Embodied Nature of Judgment
Authors: Bergmann, Lasse
Wagner, Jennifer
Abstract: It is a common socio-moral practice to appeal to reasons as a guiding force for one’s actions. However, it is an intriguing possibility that this practice is based on fiction: reasons cannot or do not motivate the majority of actions—especially moral ones. Rather, pre-reflective evaluative processes are likely responsible for moral actions. Such a view faces two major challenges: (i) pre-reflective judgments are commonly thought of as inflexible in nature, and thus they cannot be the cause of the varied judgments people rely on in everyday life, and (ii) if reflective reason-based judgments do not play a strong causative role in judgment, why do people rely on the articulation of reasons in their moral practices? And how is moral agency and moral theorizing possible without it? We argue that the pre-reflective judgments motivating moral actions are embodied in nature. The experience of the rightness of an action that drives a person to act depends on the sensorimotor interactions that have cultivated an agent’s perspective on the world. These interactions are embedded in relational contexts, relative to which judgments are individuated. Because of this relational embeddedness, they are more flexible than they are commonly thought to be, enabling us to explain the variety of human behavior by appealing to them. The Anglo-European practice of appealing to reason as if they were propositional belief-statements motivating actions can be accounted for as nothing more than an idiosyncratic way of constructing narratives to clarify and express the relational context of intentional actions.
Citations: Bergmann LT and Wagner J (2020): When Push Comes to Shove — The Moral Fiction of Reason-Based Situational Control and the Embodied Nature of Judgment. Frontiers in Psychology 11:203
URL: https://repositorium.ub.uni-osnabrueck.de/handle/urn:nbn:de:gbv:700-202105114522
Subject Keywords: moral cognition; embodied cognition; enactive account of perception; moral judgments; social intuitionism
Issue Date: 14-Feb-2020
License name: Attribution 4.0 International
License url: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Type of publication: Einzelbeitrag in einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift [article]
Appears in Collections:FB08 - Hochschulschriften
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