Philosophy Colloquium: “Reasoning and Rationalism in Moral Psychology”

Posted on 4/7/2014 2:56:18 PM

The Philosophy Department is pleased to announce that Danielle Wylie (University of Illinois at Chicago) will be giving a talk entitled “Reasoning and Rationalism in Moral Psychology” on Friday, April 11, 2014, at 3:00 in Eberly 121. 

Wylie graduated from IUP in 2007 and is completing her PhD at the University of Wisconsin.


In moral psychology, “Psychological Rationalism” is the view that we form moral judgments primarily through a process of reasoning. This view has been relatively unpopular lately, largely due to two recent objections from Jonathan Haidt and Shaun Nichols.

Haidt has claimed to provide evidence against such a view by showing that people succumb to “moral dumbfounding,” a phenomenon in which people cannot adequately provide their reasoning after forming a moral judgment.

Nichols argues that the psychology of psychopaths provides evidence against the view, as psychopaths reason well but are unable to form moral judgments.

In this talk, I argue that these objections depend on problematic assumptions about reasoning and the commitments of Psychological Rationalism, and that Psychological Rationalism can survive both objections after these assumptions are corrected.

Department of Philosophy