We evaluate utilitarian judgments under the dual-system approach of the
mind. In the study, participants respond to a cognitive reflection test and
five (sacrificial and greater good) dilemmas that pit utilitarian and
non-utilitarian options against each other. There is judgment reversal across
the dilemmas, a result that casts doubt in considering utilitarianism as a
stable, ethical standard to evaluate the quality of moral judgments. In all the
dilemmas, participants find the utilitarian judgment too demanding in terms of
cognitive currency because it requires non-automatic, deliberative thinking. In
turn, their moral intuitions related to the automatic mind are frame dependent,
and thus can be either utilitarian or non-utilitarian. This suggests that automatic
moral judgments are about descriptions, not about substance.
Cite this paper
Silva, S. D. , Matsushita, R. and Sousa, M. D. (2016). Utilitarian Moral Judgments Are Cognitively Too Demanding. Open Access Library Journal, 3, e2380. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/oalib.1102380.
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