How people judge good from bad

The Agent, Deed Consequence model sounds helpful.

lead researcher Veljko Dubljevic, image source

New research sheds light on how people decide whether behavior is moral or immoral.

"At issue is intuitive moral judgment, which is the snap decision that people make about whether something is good or bad, moral or immoral,"...

"The findings from the study showed that philosophers and the general public made moral judgments in similar ways. This indicates that the structure of moral intuition is the same, regardless of whether one has training in ethics," ...

... the ADC model posits that people take three things into account when making a moral judgment: the agent, which is the character or intent of the person who is doing something; the deed, or what is being done; and the consequence, or the outcome that resulted from the deed.

"This approach allows us to explain not only the variability in the moral status of lying, but also the flip side: that telling the truth can be immoral if it is done maliciously and causes harm,"...

... when the stakes were lower, the nature of the deed was the strongest factor in determining whether an action was moral. Whether the agent was lying or telling the truth mattered the most, rather than whether the outcome was bad or good. But when the stakes were high, the nature of the consequences was the strongest factor. The results also show that in the case of a good outcome (survival of the passengers of an airplane), the difference between a good or a bad deed, although relevant for the moral evaluation, was less important. [order changed]

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I saw the terms good and bad in the post and right away thought it preferable to use terms derived from experience, such as harmless and harmful or helpful and hurtful.

I doubt the value of the terms good and bad in studies such as this, for the same reasons the terms sociopathy and psychopathy have been replaced by the term anti-social personality disorder: their use by so many people for so many purposes has muddied their definitions.

As to the terms moral and immoral, religious instruction has co-opted their use in other contexts.




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