Two types of moral decision-making


  • Vitaliy Nadurak
Keywords: moral decision, moral intuition, moral reasoning, dual-system approach, dual- process theory of moral judgement


This paper analyzes and classifies the main kinds of moral decisions. The classification is based on two types of moral decisions corresponding to the two types of cognitive processes described by D. Kahneman (System 1 and System 2). Sharing critical remarks of J. St. B. T. Evans and K. Stanovich concerning the terms «System 1» and «System 2», we suggest two types of moral decision-making processes (their result, in turn, are moral decisions of the first and second types). The first (intuitive) type includes moral decisions which are automatic, fast, accepted with little or no effort and voluntary control. The second type includes moral deci- sions preceded by the deliberate reasoning. The main kinds of moral decisions of the first type are as follows: 1) intuitively emotional decisions (i.e. the decisions made under the influence of emotions that accompany moral decision-making process such as empathy, shame, trust, concern, disgust, etc.); 2) intuitively normative decisions (decisions, made under the influence of learned to automaticity sociocultural norms); 3) the decisions made under the influence of moral risky psychological inclinations — unconscious human ten- dencies (cognitive biases, social heuristics, etc.) that make us think in a certain way and make decisions which are sometimes unacceptable from the logical and ethical point of view. Moral decisions of the first type are ready-made decisions that have been formed in the process of biosociocultural evolution or individual human experience. Perceiving envi- ronmental signals, the human mind unconsciously correlates them with ready-made an- swers and, finding a match, it automatically and quickly offers a ready-made decision. Kinds of moral decisions of the second type are: 1) rationalized moral decisions where ra- tionalization is defined as reasoning occurring after intuitive reaction that explains, justifies and clarifies it before the final decision; 2) rational moral decisions, i.e. the decisions based on a consciously chosen ethical rule, principle or norm.

Author Biography

Vitaliy Nadurak

Doctor of Sciences in Philosophy, Professor at the Department of Philosophy, So- ciology and Religious Studies, Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University. Academic interests: ethics, moral decision-making theory.


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How to Cite
Nadurak, V. (2020). Two types of moral decision-making. Filosofska Dumka, (3), 66-78. Retrieved from