Expertise in Moral Reasoning? Order Effects on Moral Judgment in Professional Philosophers and Non-Philosophers

Eric Schwitzgebel and Fiery Cushman

Mind & Language (2012), 27, 135-153

Abstract: We examined the effects of order of presentation on the moral judgments of professional philosophers and two comparison groups.  All groups showed similar-sized order effects on their judgments about hypothetical moral scenarios targeting the doctrine of the double effect, the action-omission distinction, and the principle of moral luck.  Philosophers’ endorsements of related general moral principles were also substantially influenced by the order in which the hypothetical scenarios had previously been presented.  Thus, philosophical expertise does not appear to enhance the stability of moral judgments against this presumably unwanted source of bias, even given familiar types of cases and principles.

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