Moral dumbfounding

In the spirit of finding names for things, I thought this was interesting:

Moral dumbfounding occurs when people stubbornly maintain a moral judgement, even though they can provide no reason to support their judgements.

It typically manifests as a state of confusion or puzzlement coupled with (a) an admission of not having reasons or (b) the use of unsupported declarations (“It’s just wrong!”) as justification for a judgement, particularly when people encounter taboo behaviors that do not result in any harm.

The classic and most commonly cited example involves an act of consensual incest between a brother and sister with the use of contraceptive. Another example involves an act of cannibalism with a body that is already dead and is due to be incinerated the next day


The whole article is long but fascinating.

Thanks for reading! Subscribe via email or RSS, follow me on Twitter, or discuss this post on Reddit!

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close