Large Grant Funds Boundary-Pushing Study of Moral Judgment


Santiago Amaya, professor of philosophy at the Universidad de los Andes (Colombia), has been awarded a $250,000 grant to support his project, “Off the Rails: Moral Psychology Beyond Traditional Borders.”

According to Dr. Amaya,

Our project aims to revolutionize the study of moral judgment by pushing the boundaries of current research on the topic in three directions. The first is to develop new materials that describe more realistic non-dilemma scenarios. For this, we plan to construct scenarios from the ground up by studying the kind of moral situations that people in different contexts report when asked about common episodes of moral assessment. The second is to widen the socio-cultural characteristics of the populations studied. This requires reaching out to communities that cannot be accessed by conventional methods, such as laboratory or online testing. Finally, we seek to adopt a variety of methodologies (experience sampling, behavioral studies, linguistic analysis) that will better allow for the expression of idiosyncrasies in everyday moral judgment. Rather than imposing pre-defined categories of moral evaluation, we aim to establish and validate which categories individuals apply in their own contexts.

You can learn more about the project here.

The grant was awarded by the James S. McDonnell Foundation, which “was established to ‘improve the quality of life,’ and does so by contributing to a generation of new knowledge through its support of research and scholarship.”


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