Attentional Moral Perception

Jonna Vance, Preston J. Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Moral perceptualism is the view that perceptual experience is attuned to pick up on moral features in our environment, just as it is attuned to pick up on mundane features of an environment like textures, shapes, colors, pitches, and timbres. One important family of views that incorporate moral perception are those of virtue theorists and sensibility theorists. On these views, one central ability of the virtuous agent is her sensitivity to morally relevant features of situations, where this sensitivity is often spoken of in perceptual terms. However, sensibility theorists have often not been careful to specify how to understand their claims about moral sensibilities as perceptual. In this paper, we distinguish between what we call Attentional Moral Perception and Contentful Moral Perception. We argue that sensibility theorists should endorse Attentional Moral Perception, because it has very powerful empirical evidence in its favor, and it can play all of the explanatory roles that the sensibility theorist needs in her theory of moral sensibilities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)501-525
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Moral Philosophy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Copyright 2022 by Andrew Vidali.


  • attention
  • moral perception
  • salience
  • sensibility theory
  • virtue theory


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