Chapter

Human Nature and Common-Sense Morality

Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu

in Unfit for the Future

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199653645
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742033 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199653645.003.0002
Human Nature and Common-Sense Morality

Show Summary Details

Preview

This chapter reviews relevant aspects of human psychology and common-sense morality. The fact that it is easier for us to harm than to benefit is reflected in so-called loss aversion; that our aversion of losing something is greater than our desire to acquire something similar. It is also reflected in that common-sense morality imposes strict duties not to commit harmful acts of killing etc. — and thereby gives us corresponding negative rights to life etc. — but provides only weaker reasons to benefit. Together with a conception of responsibility as based on causation this makes up the act-omission doctrine. Relevant aspects of our psychology are a bias towards the near future and an altruism that is limited to individuals who are near to us and that is not proportionate to larger numbers. We have a sense of justice or fairness, which primarily manifests in acts of reciprocity, tit-for-tat.

Keywords: act-omission; altruism; common-sense morality; fairness; justice; loss aversion; moral psychology; negative rights; reciprocity; responsibility

Chapter.  13810 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.