Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Neil Van Leeuwen

Second Advisor

Andrea Scarantino

Third Advisor

Eric Wilson


Stephen Stich has recently claimed that moral judgements are not a distinct psychological natural kind from conventional judgements. He argues that our two best methods in philosophy and psychology fail to provide a characterization of moral judgements that is immune to counter arguments, and therefore, it is likely there is only the psychology of conventional judgements. I argue that Stich’s arguments implicitly assume a mistaken assumption, that moral judgements are psychologically distinguished from conventional judgements only if they concern different kinds of content. This assumption is mistaken because moral judgements can be distinguished from conventional judgements in virtue of attitude type. I provide a theory of a moral attitude type to demonstrate the plausibility that moral judgements can be psychologically distinguished from conventional judgements in such a way. Furthermore, a large history of scholarship in philosophy and psychology on moral properties and content might have understandably lead Stich’s argument astray.


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