MORAL LEARNING in the OPEN SOCIETY

The THEORY and PRACTICE of NATURAL LIBERTY

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

When people reason on the basis of moral rules, do they suppose that in the absence of a prohibitory rule they are free to act, or do they suppose that morality always requires a justification establishing a permission to act? In this essay we present a series of learning experiments that indicate when learners tend to close their system on the basis of natural liberty and when on the principle of residual prohibition. Those who are taught prohibitory rules tend to infer natural liberty while those taught permission rules tend to infer residual prohibition. In mixed cases, where learners are taught both types of rules, there is some tendency to suppose that natural liberty is the default. Both natural liberty and its denial can be learned; is there a reason to adopt one system of moral rules or the other? We argue that systems of social morality based on a principle of natural liberty have a striking advantage over their competitors: they are well adapted to effectively exploring the constant novel circumstances that arise in open, dynamic, societies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-101
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Philosophy and Policy
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Fingerprint

morality
experiment
society
learning
Liberty
Teaching
Permission
Prohibition
Moral Rules

Keywords

  • closure rules
  • moral learning
  • moral rules
  • natural liberty
  • open society
  • pedagogical sampling
  • social morality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

MORAL LEARNING in the OPEN SOCIETY : The THEORY and PRACTICE of NATURAL LIBERTY. / Gaus, Gerald F; Nichols, Shaun B.

In: Social Philosophy and Policy, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2017, p. 79-101.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

@article{09381c3fd49d49d498913a0a0da9c1c2,
title = "MORAL LEARNING in the OPEN SOCIETY: The THEORY and PRACTICE of NATURAL LIBERTY",
abstract = "When people reason on the basis of moral rules, do they suppose that in the absence of a prohibitory rule they are free to act, or do they suppose that morality always requires a justification establishing a permission to act? In this essay we present a series of learning experiments that indicate when learners tend to close their system on the basis of natural liberty and when on the principle of residual prohibition. Those who are taught prohibitory rules tend to infer natural liberty while those taught permission rules tend to infer residual prohibition. In mixed cases, where learners are taught both types of rules, there is some tendency to suppose that natural liberty is the default. Both natural liberty and its denial can be learned; is there a reason to adopt one system of moral rules or the other? We argue that systems of social morality based on a principle of natural liberty have a striking advantage over their competitors: they are well adapted to effectively exploring the constant novel circumstances that arise in open, dynamic, societies.",
keywords = "closure rules, moral learning, moral rules, natural liberty, open society, pedagogical sampling, social morality",
author = "Gaus, {Gerald F} and Nichols, {Shaun B}",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1017/S0265052517000048",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "34",
pages = "79--101",
journal = "Social Philosophy and Policy",
issn = "0265-0525",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - MORAL LEARNING in the OPEN SOCIETY

T2 - The THEORY and PRACTICE of NATURAL LIBERTY

AU - Gaus, Gerald F

AU - Nichols, Shaun B

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - When people reason on the basis of moral rules, do they suppose that in the absence of a prohibitory rule they are free to act, or do they suppose that morality always requires a justification establishing a permission to act? In this essay we present a series of learning experiments that indicate when learners tend to close their system on the basis of natural liberty and when on the principle of residual prohibition. Those who are taught prohibitory rules tend to infer natural liberty while those taught permission rules tend to infer residual prohibition. In mixed cases, where learners are taught both types of rules, there is some tendency to suppose that natural liberty is the default. Both natural liberty and its denial can be learned; is there a reason to adopt one system of moral rules or the other? We argue that systems of social morality based on a principle of natural liberty have a striking advantage over their competitors: they are well adapted to effectively exploring the constant novel circumstances that arise in open, dynamic, societies.

AB - When people reason on the basis of moral rules, do they suppose that in the absence of a prohibitory rule they are free to act, or do they suppose that morality always requires a justification establishing a permission to act? In this essay we present a series of learning experiments that indicate when learners tend to close their system on the basis of natural liberty and when on the principle of residual prohibition. Those who are taught prohibitory rules tend to infer natural liberty while those taught permission rules tend to infer residual prohibition. In mixed cases, where learners are taught both types of rules, there is some tendency to suppose that natural liberty is the default. Both natural liberty and its denial can be learned; is there a reason to adopt one system of moral rules or the other? We argue that systems of social morality based on a principle of natural liberty have a striking advantage over their competitors: they are well adapted to effectively exploring the constant novel circumstances that arise in open, dynamic, societies.

KW - closure rules

KW - moral learning

KW - moral rules

KW - natural liberty

KW - open society

KW - pedagogical sampling

KW - social morality

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85010984256&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85010984256&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/S0265052517000048

DO - 10.1017/S0265052517000048

M3 - Review article

VL - 34

SP - 79

EP - 101

JO - Social Philosophy and Policy

JF - Social Philosophy and Policy

SN - 0265-0525

IS - 1

ER -