Psychology’s Contribution to Ethics: Two Case Studies: Two Case Studies

Liz Gulliford

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter


This paper contends that psychology cannot replace ethics. However, it will be argued, with reference to two case studies, that the empirical investigation of human morality can offer an important contribution to ethics. First, an empirical approach can illuminate matters of definition. Normative ethicists often make distinctions between concepts that do not reflect lay usage, and may seek to refine or reclaim the ‘true’ meaning of words to prevent the erosion of conceptual distinctions. However, it might be argued that they should hold no privileged place when it comes to defining the terms of language as it is used. It is essential that philosophers take seriously the question of what laypeople understand by ethical concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDual Process Theories in Moral Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Approaches to Theoretical, Empirical and Practical Considerations
EditorsCordula Brand
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-658-12053-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-658-12052-8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2016


  • Psychological Intervention
  • Cognitive Reappraisal
  • Psychological Approach
  • Valence Rating
  • Social Psychology Bulletin


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