Anna Donise

Moral Dilemmas and Rationality

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Emotions, Moral Decision, Phenomenology, Dual-process Theory

This paper deals with the relationship between the emotional dimension and the rational dimension in moral decision-making, offering a critique of the Trolley Problem in two of its many versions (‘switch’ and ‘footbridge’). The contemporary scientific literature argues that the difference in the answers usually given to the two questions is due to the different brain processes involved: rationality in the first case, the emotional dimension in the second. This understanding reinstates the old dichotomous conception of the human being based on reason versus emotion. This paper, on the contrary, shows that 1) the different answers depend on the profound diversity of the two formulations of the dilemma in terms of moral implications; 2) both answers to the questions are rational. This shows that we need to rethink the concept of reason so that it takes into account the cognitive value of the emotional sphere, which indeed plays an essential role in deliberation – even rational deliberation.

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