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PhD defence Hanno Sauer

When:Mo 27-01-2014 at 12:45
Where:Aula, Academy Building (Broerstraat 5, Groningen)

Dissertation Title: "Educated Intuitions: A Rationalist Theory of Moral Judgment"
Promotor: Prof.dr. Pauline Kleingeld

Hanno Sauer’s dissertation focuses on the psychological foundations of moral judgment and reasoning. He ties together a normative case for a moderately rationalist position with an assessment of the latest empirical evidence concerning the nature of moral judgment and reasoning. Recent research suggests that emotion and intuition are essential to human moral cognition, and many philosophers have inferred that this implies that moral rationalism is false. Against this widespread assumption, Sauer develops a model according to which moral intuitions can be seen as the result of ‘education’: they are best understood as habitualized intuitive responses to morally salient situations. As such, they are not only the upshot of a (social) process of rational upbringing; they are also open to episodes of rational reflection and other critical social practices, which feed back into our intuitive judgments and help shape and improve them over time. Sauer supports his argument with the relevant empirical data and elaborates the normative implications of his argument.