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Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy Volume 3$
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Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe, and Shaun Nichols

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198852407

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198852407.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 July 2021

Intuitive Expertise and Irrelevant Options

Intuitive Expertise and Irrelevant Options

(p.275) 11 Intuitive Expertise and Irrelevant Options
Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy Volume 3

Joachim Horvath

Karina Meyer

Alex Wiegmann

Oxford University Press

In the ‘push-dilemma,’ a train is about to run over several people and can only be stopped by pushing a heavy person onto the tracks. Most lay people and moral philosophers consider the ‘push-option,’ i.e., pushing the heavy person, as morally wrong. Peter Unger (1992, 1996) suggested that adding irrelevant options to the push-dilemma would overturn this intuition. This chapter tests Unger’s claim in an experiment with both lay people and expert moral philosophers. This allowed an investigation of the ‘expertise defense,’ which various philosophers have suggested as an answer to ‘experimental restrictionists,’ who argue that experimental philosophy undermines the trustworthiness of intuitions about hypothetical cases. Overall, the chapter finds that adding irrelevant options increases the ratings for the push-option. Moreover, the intuitions of expert moral philosophers are no less susceptible to the presence of irrelevant options than lay people’s intuitions. The chapter discusses how these findings bear on the expertise defense.

Keywords:   moral judgment, moral intuitions, Peter Unger, trolley dilemmas, push dilemma, experimental philosophy, expertise defense, irrelevant options, order effects

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