Recent empirical research results in the behavioral, cognitive, and neurosciences on the “adaptive unconscious” show that conscious control and deliberative awareness are not all-pervasive aspects of our everyday dealings with one another. Moral philosophers and other scientists have used these insights to put our moral agency to the test. The results of these tests are intriguing: apparently we are not always (or ever?) the moral agents we take ourselves to be. This paper argues in favor of a refinement of our common perception of moral agency that can accommodate these results; however, it also argues against the suggestion that this refined concept is the result of a radical new understanding of our everyday moral practices.

, , , , ,,
Erasmus School of Philosophy

Sie, M. (2009). Moral Agency, Conscious Control, and Deliberative Awareness. Inquiry, 52(5), 516–531. doi:10.1080/00201740903302642