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Chapter 7 - Moral Intuition

from Part II - Intuition and Its Intelligence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2023

Gerd Gigerenzer
Affiliation:
Max Planck Institute for Human Development
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Summary

I argue that moral intuitions are guided by social heuristics, which are not distinctive from other heuristics in the adaptive toolbox. One and the same heuristic can solve problems that we call moral and those we do not. That perspective helps explain the processes underlying moral intuition rather than taking it as an unexplained primitive. While moral psychologists debate over whether our moral sense is reflective and rational, as in Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory, or intuitive and nonrational, as in Jonathan Haidt’s theory, I believe that any assumed opposition and ranking is a misleading start. Both intuition and deliberation are involved in moral behavior, as they are in decision-making in general. The result of deliberation may become automized over a lifetime or generations, or intuitive judgments may be justified post hoc. If Darwin is right that the function of morality is to create and maintain the coherence of groups, then social heuristics are the tools towards that goal. This adaptive view explains apparent systematic inconsistencies in moral behavior and takes the phenomenon of moral luck seriously. Virtue is found not only in people, but also in environments.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Moral Intuition
  • Gerd Gigerenzer, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
  • Book: The Intelligence of Intuition
  • Online publication: 28 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009304887.010
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  • Moral Intuition
  • Gerd Gigerenzer, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
  • Book: The Intelligence of Intuition
  • Online publication: 28 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009304887.010
Available formats
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  • Moral Intuition
  • Gerd Gigerenzer, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
  • Book: The Intelligence of Intuition
  • Online publication: 28 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009304887.010
Available formats
×