Moral coherence processes: Constructing culpability and consequences

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Abstract

We review recent research in moral psychology that demonstrates a fundamental human motivation for a morally coherent world, that is, a world in which the moral qualities of actors and actions match the moral qualities of the outcomes they produce. The striving for moral coherence explains many seemingly contradictory patterns of judgment found in the moral reasoning literature, such as the general tendency for people to reverse engineer descriptive beliefs to fit desired prescriptive conclusions. Many recent phenomena in the moral reasoning literature demonstrate coherence-based reasoning, among them, the construction of morally culpable agents, the construction of victims and harms, and altered beliefs about the effectiveness and consequences of policies with moral implications.

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Clark, C. J., Chen, E. E., & Ditto, P. H. (2015, December 1). Moral coherence processes: Constructing culpability and consequences. Current Opinion in Psychology. Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.07.016

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