Moral Psychology and Meta-Ethics

Using Valerie Tiberius’ Moral Psychology: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge 2014) as a starting point to orientate ourselves in the expanding research domain of moral psychology (and its connection to meta-ethics), we will concentrate on one particular research topic which changes every year. In 2018-2019 we focused on empathy. In 2019-2020 we will concentrate on another topic that connects various questions on the motivation and responsibility of moral agents: implicit bias. Psychological research has shown that most people have some implicit biases towards some or multiple stigmatised social groups, affecting their judgments and actions. Apart from conceptual questions (does it make sense to conceptualize an implicit bias as an attitude?) and methodological worries (especially regarding the implicit association test) these findings have raised normative questions about our responsibility for implicit biases. Are people responsible for having implicit biases and/or their manifestation in behaviour if they have limited control over or knowledge of them? If people can be so mistaken about their motives, how should we think about our capacity for self-knowledge? What steps can or should people take to prevent these biases from influencing their actions? During biweekly meetings we discuss research articles from leading scholars in the field, have live discussions with invited guest speakers, or discuss work-in-progress of the participants.