Lectures: 2 sessions for 2 days, 12 hours total
This seminar focuses on the cognitive science of moral reasoning. Philosophers debate how we decide which moral actions are permissible. Is it permissible to take one human life in order to save others? We have powerful and surprisingly rich and subtle intuitions to such questions.
In this class, you will learn how intuitions can be studied using formal analytical paradigms and behavioral experiments. Thursday evening, meet to learn about recent advances in theories of moral reasoning. Overnight, formulate a hypothesis about the structure of moral reasoning and design a questionnaire-based experiment to test this. Friday, present and select 1-2 proposals and collect data; we will then reconvene to analyze and discuss results and implications for the structure of the moral mind.
Introduction to Marathon Moral Reasoning Laboratory (PDF)
List of Sample Dilemmas (PDF)
Note that the data in pages 5-6 of the introduction correspond to these dilemmas; the numbers are the average responses of the students in the class.