Lecture on "Cognitivism, Motivation, and Dual-Process Approaches to Normative Judgment"
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Lecture on "Cognitivism, Motivation, and Dual-Process Approaches to Normative Judgment"
DateandTime: 2017-04-17 22:45:32

Speaker: Brendan Cline, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, SUNY, US

Date: April 17, 2017

Time: 6:30 pm- 8:30pm

Location: Room 1408, Block A, Zhixin Building, Central Campus

Sponsor: the School of Philosophy and Soicial Development


A central source of support for expressivist accounts of normative discourse is the intimate relationship between normative judgment and motivation. Expressivists argue that normative judgments must be noncognitive, desire-like states in order to be so tightly linked with motivation. Normative statements are then construed as expressions of these noncognitive states. In this paper, I draw on dual-process models in cognitive psychology to respond to this argument. According to my proposal, normative judgments are ordinary beliefs that are typically produced by two kinds of process: intuitive-affective processes and domain-general reasoning. When produced by the first kind of process, motivation and judgment tend to align. When produced by the second kind, motivation and judgment might not align. Since first kind of process is the most common pathway of normative belief formation, normative judgments are typically accompanied by aligning motivation. This proposal enables cognitivists to explain the intimate link between normative judgment and motivation, thereby removing the major obstacle to interpreting normative statements truth-conditionally.


Brendan Cline is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. His main research interests include issues at the intersection of metaethics and moral psychology, including the evolution of morality, normative skepticism, the relationship between normative judgment and motivation, and the semantics of normative thought and language. He has published in top journals such as Philosophical Studies, Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy and Philosophical Psychology.

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Edited by: Zhang Xinyuan

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