New Perspectives on Moral Cognition: Reply to Zimmerman, Enoch, and Chemla, Egré & Schlenker

Jersusalem Review of Legal Studies (Forthcoming)

49 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2013 Last revised: 10 Oct 2013

See all articles by John Mikhail

John Mikhail

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: July 16, 2013


This extended essay responds to three commentaries on my book, Elements of Moral Cognition: Rawls' Linguistic Analogy and the Cognitive Science of Moral and Legal Judgment, which were written in connection with a symposium on the book sponsored the Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies. The three commentaries are:

Aaron Zimmerman, "Mikhail's Naturalized Moral Rationalism," 3 Jerusalem Rev. L. Stud. 1-22 (2013)

David Enoch, "On Analogies, Disanalogies, and Moral Philosophy: A Comment on John Mikhail's Elements of Moral Cognition," 3 Jerusalem Rev. L. Stud. 1-25 (2013)

Emmanuel Chemla, Paul Egré & Philippe Schlenker, "Moral Judgments and Semantic Judgments: A Case Study (Comments on Mikhail)," 3 Jerusalem Rev. L. Stud. 1-18 (2013)

The essay address a number of topics lying at the intersection of law, ethics, and cognitive science that are raised by these commentaries and that have been discussed at length in the secondary literature. These topics include whether the prohibition of intentional battery and the principle of double effect are descriptively adequate; whether these and other moral principles are innate; whether my trolley problem data are replicable; whether Rawls was a moral psychologist; the relations among descriptive ethics, normative ethics, and metaethics; the role of idealization and statistical data in moral psychology; the connection between moral grammar and legal theory; the naturalistic foundation of human rights; the role of probabilistic factors in moral judgment; and the relation between moral judgments and causal judgments.

JEL Classification: D63, D64, K00, K13, K14

Suggested Citation

Mikhail, John, New Perspectives on Moral Cognition: Reply to Zimmerman, Enoch, and Chemla, Egré & Schlenker (July 16, 2013). Jersusalem Review of Legal Studies (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN:

John Mikhail (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

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