Why Common Sense Will Not Take Us Far When Making a Better World

Arvid Erlandsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article it is argued that common sense morality in many cases leads to suboptimal consequences and that human beings in general put too much faith in their moral intuitions. In the first section an explanation of common sense moral is offered. In the second section a working definition of “better world” is presented. In section three, contemporary psychological research concerning human moral thinking is reviewed. In section four the article turns philosophical and discusses possible normative implications of these psychological findings. In section five, some overemphasized areas as well as some neglected areas of common sense morality are presented. In section six, an important distinction between the concepts bad, wrong and blameworthy is explained. Finally, some practical suggestions how to improve human moral thinking are offered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-68
JournalEducational Studies/ Kyoiku Kenkyu
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology


  • moral intuitions
  • Common sense morality
  • moral psychology
  • consequentialism


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