PHIL 440A: EXPLICIT APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLES VS. IMPLICIT COGNITIVE SENSITIVITY AND MOTIVATIONAL RESPONSIVENESS TO PRINCIPLES

 

 

A. EXPLICIT SENSITIVITY OF BELIEF AND EXPLICIT RESPONSIVENESS OF MOTIVATION:The EXPLICIT belief in and application of principle P:S's choice of act A conforms to principle P because S believes P, S explicitly applies P to determine what to do, and S's application of P is reliable.This is an example of explicit sensitivity of belief to principle P and explicit responsiveness of motivation to principle P.

 

 

B.IMPLICIT SENSITIVITY OF BELIEFS AND IMPLICIT RESPONSIVENESS OF MOTIVATION

(Two Counterfactual Tests).

 

1.IMPLICIT SENSITIVITY OF BELIEFS TO OBJECTIVE MORAL PERMISSIBILITY.

Tracking.Test for whether Sís belief that act A is morally permissible tracks objective moral permissibility:If A were not morally permissible, S would not believe that A was.

Probabilistic Sensitivity.†† Test for whether Sís belief that act A is morally permissible is probabilistically sensitive to objective moral permissibility:If S believes herself to be in circumstances C and S believes act A to be morally permissible in those circumstances, act A probably is morally permissible in those circumstances.

 

2.IMPLICIT RESPONSIVENESS OF ONEíS MOTIVATIONAL STATE TO OBJECTIVE MORAL PERMISSIBILITY.

Tracking.Test for whether the motivational state leading S to do act A tracks objective moral permissibility:If S's doing act A were not morally permissible, S would not be motivated to do A; S would be motivated to do something that was morally permissible.

Probabilistic Responsiveness.Test for whether the motivational state of S to do act A is probabilistically responsive to objective moral permissibility:If S believes herself to be in circumstances C and chooses to do act A, then A is probably morally permissible in those circumstances.

 

IMPLICIT SENSITIVITY AND IMPLICIT RESPONSIVENESS TO A PRINCIPLE

 

Let P be a principle of objective rightness.Let S be an agent in circumstances C trying to decide what is morally right (or wrong) in C.

 

We can distinguish two degrees of implicit sensitivity or responsiveness to principle P:

 

(Sensitivity/Responsiveness) In circumstances C in which principle P implies that A is the right thing to do, Sís judgment that A is the right thing to do is implicitly sensitive to P and Sís doing A is implicitly responsive to P just in case:

 

(Tracking Sensitivity) If the circumstances were enough different that P did not imply that A was the right thing to do, S wouldnít believe that it was.

(Tracking Responsiveness) If the circumstances were enough different that P did not imply that A was the right thing to do, S would not be motivated to do X (S would be motivated to do whatever was the right thing to do).

(Probabilistic Sensitivity)

If the circumstances were enough different that principle P did not imply that A was the right thing to do, S would probably not believe that it was.

 

(Probabilistic Responsiveness)

If the circumstances were enough different that principle P did not determine that A was the right thing to do, S would probably not be motivated to do A (S would probably be motivated to do something morally permissible).