Review of “A Psychological View of Moral Intuition” by Phineas Upham

“A Psychological View of Moral Intuition” is an essay written by Jonathan Baron, included in the book Space of Love and Garbage, edited by Phineas Upham. Jonathan Baron is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is interested in decision-making, moral judgment, and their relation to public issues. He received a B.A. in psychology from Harvard in 1966 and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1970. His recent publications include “The Political Psychology of Redistribution,” UCLA Law Review, and “Cognitive Biases, Cognitive Limits, and Risk Communication,” Journal of Public Policy and Marketing.

Here is the bio (above) from the essay and a quotation of my favorite paragraphs of the essay (below).

At least since the publication of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice in 1971, it has been standard practice in moral philosophy to develop theories by trying to explain and systematize our moral intuitions. Rawls made an analogy with linguistics. A few years before Rawls wrote, Noam Chomsky had advanced the field of linguistics through a similar move. Chomsky developed a mathematical theory of the structure of sentences by trying to account simply for his own intuitions about what was a sentence and what was not. Rawls’s view of theory construction through “reflective equilibrium” was subtle and elaborate. Much has been written about it. But a glance at current philosophy journals suggests that a simpler method has become common practice. Typically, the author presents a few carefully constructed cases and then tries to account for her own moral judgments about these cases.

Phineas Upham is a writer and ex-journalist from NYC. You can visit Phineas Upham website for more details.

Phineas Upham This Book is available for sale on Ebay:  Space of Love & Garbage – Phineas Upham