The Importance Of Moral Judgement

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It is natural to think that our moral judgments about the outcomes of people’s actions are sensitive to whether or not those outcomes were intended or side effects. There’s a big difference between walking up to someone in the street and punching them straight in the face, and accidentally hitting someone while trying to provide directions to another passerby. In the first case, intentions would be bad, and so the outcome is judged as a moral offence; the latter was an accident, a side-effect of trying to help someone else, and therefore not morally blameworthy. But what happens in the brain when judging other people's actions? How farfetched are our judgments? Do all bad actions carry the same weight independently of the person who committed such acts?…show more content…
Dr. Zimbardo took a group of college-student volunteers and randomly divided them into “guards” and “prisoners” who were then placed in a prison-like environment. Within a week, the study had to be abandoned, as these ordinary students were transformed into either sadistic guards or emotionally broken prisoners. Would the guards in this case be perceived as intentionally evil or would they be excused and the negative environment to blame? According to Zimbardo himself “Guard aggression was emitted simply as a ‘natural’ consequence of being in the uniform of a ‘guard’ and asserting the power inherent in that role.” (Haney et al., 1973). Therefore it was the negative influence of the environment that drove the guards to behave evilly, and consequently should not be judged as bad people. Environment having a heavy impact on people's action is something that has been replicated several times (Milgram, 1963; Darley & Latané,

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