Paytas, T. (2014). Sometimes psychopaths get it right: A utilitarian response to 'The Mismeasure of Morals'. Utilitas,26(2), 178-191. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1017/S095382081400003X
A well-publicized study entitled ‘The Mismeasure of Morals’ (Bartels and Pizarro, 2011) purportedly provides evidence that utilitarian solutions to a particular class of moral dilemmas are endorsed primarily by individuals with psychopathic traits. According to the authors, these findings give researchers reason to refrain from classifying utilitarian judgements as morally optimal. This article is a two-part response to the study. The first part comprises concerns about the methodology used and the adequacy of the data for supporting the authors’ conclusions. The second part seeks to undermine the suggestion that if anti-social individuals are the ones most likely to endorse utilitarian solutions to the target dilemmas, we should be sceptical about those solutions. I argue that the character of individuals most likely to make a given moral judgement is an unreliable indicator of the quality of that judgement.
Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry
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