MASTER THESIS DEFENSE. Moral Perception: seeing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Start date
End date
Ramon Llull Seminar, door 4047, Philosophy Faculty, UB

Master Thesis Defense. Cognitive Science and Language.


Lucía González Arias.

Supervisor: Dra. Josefa Toribio.

Thesis committee

President: Dr. Manolo Martínez (UB)

Vocal: Dr. David Pineda (UdG)

Secretaria: Dra. Josefa Toribio (ICREA-UB)



Attentional moral perception (AMP) is the most recent and less-controversial version of moral perceptualism, the claim that we can represent moral properties such as being right or wrong in perception. AMP features an attentional, albeit perceptual sensitivity to moral difference-makers that need not involve the perceptual representation of the moral properties themselves. In this essay, I examine the empirical and theoretical basis of this proposal, delving into the methodological imprecisions and problematic implications that comes with endorsing it. On the empirical side, I cast doubt on the validity of the data and the fitness of the experimental designs typically invoked to defend the view. On the theoretical side, I articulate a more controlled example and, borrowing a classic argument from Speaks (2010), I argue that AMP ultimately needs to commit to phenomenologically rich ‘attentional states’ and renounce the transparency of perception. Clinical aspects of AMP are also discussed. Key words: attentional moral perceptualism; moral perceptualism; moral cognition.