Moral Intuitions from the Perspective of Contemporary Descriptive Ethics

Petra Chudárková



In the last twenty years, there has been an enormous growth of scientific research concerning the process of human moral reasoning and moral intuitions. In contemporary descriptive ethics, three dominant approaches can be found – heuristic approach, dual-process theory, and universal moral grammar. Each of these accounts is based on similar empirical evidence combining findings from evolutionary biology, moral psychology, and neuroethics. Nevertheless, they come to different conclusions about the reliability of moral intuitions. The aim of this paper is to critically investigate each of these approaches and compare them with recent scientific findings. Last chapter addresses implications of these findings for moral epistemology and normative ethics. The aim is to show that despite different interpretations of available data, we can reach a satisfying pragmatical conclusion which would be in compliance with the empirical evidence, yet it would not necessarily depend on it.


moral intuitions; heuristics; dual-process theory; universal moral grammar; normative ethics

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: