Moral judgment and deontology: Empirical developments

Academic Article


  • A traditional idea is that moral judgment involves more than calculating the consequences of actions; it also requires an assessment of the agent's intentions, the act's nature, and whether the agent uses another person as a means to her ends. I survey experimental developments suggesting that ordinary people often tacitly reason in terms of such deontological rules. It's now unclear whether we should posit a traditional form of the doctrine of double effect. However, further research suggests that a range of non-consequentialist factors influence moral judgment, including intentions, commissions, personal harm, and agent-centered commitments. Many, if not all, such factors appear to affect how involved the agent is in bringing about an outcome.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Philosophy Compass  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • May J
  • Start Page

  • 745
  • End Page

  • 755
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 11