The four moral judgments you make everyday - Deepstash
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Moral psychology

Moral psychology

Moral psychology is the study of how we process moral ideas, how we become moral beings, and how our brains handle moral issues. We can use a four-category framework to understand how people make moral judgements. These are: Evaluations, Norm judgements, Wrongness judgements and Blame judgements.

It takes less than two seconds of seeing an action with a moral dimension to make a basic judgement on whether it was good or bad, morally wrong or not, and who to blame for it. Some of these quick decisions will be wrong because we rely on preexisting biases and insufficient information. The four-category framework can help us understand that moral situations can be viewed from different perspectives. Holding opposing views on an issue can be natural.


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Evaluation as a type of judgement

These are simple evaluations we make to judge whether something is good, bad, positive, or negative.

We do this with everything, including situations like evaluating writing.


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Norm judgements

Norm judgements are limited to actions. We decide if some activity or thing is allowed, permissible, prohibited, or otherwise acceptable.

This can be applied before an action is taken. It often invokes abstract ideas of virtue and value.


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Wrongness judgements

These combine elements of evaluation and norm judgement to identify intentional violations of norms.

A wrongness judgement differs from a norm judgement in that wrongness is an entirely moral trait.


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Blame judgements

Blame judgements combine evaluations, norm judgments and wrongness judgements.

This judgement is carried out quickly. Blame is a social tool. It can also help us regulate our moral behaviour in the future.


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