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Keywords:

  • Moral cognition;
  • Moral grammar;
  • Action trees;
  • Moral judgment

Abstract

It has sometimes been suggested that people represent the structure of action in terms of an action tree. A question now arises about the relationship between this action tree representation and people’s moral judgments. A natural hypothesis would be that people first construct a representation of the action tree and then go on to use this representation in making moral judgments. The present paper argues for a more complex view. Specifically, the paper reports a series of experimental studies that appear to show that people’s moral judgments can actually impact their representations of the action tree itself.