Morality, Normativity, and the Good System 2 Fallacy

Main Article Content

Wim De Neys


In this commentary, I warn against a possible dual process misconception that might lead people to conclude that utilitarian judgments are normatively correct. I clarify how the misconception builds on (1) the association between System 2 and normativity in the dual process literature on logical/probabilistic reasoning, and (2) the classification of utilitarian judgments as resulting from System 2 processing in the dual process model of moral reasoning. I present theoretical and empirical evidence against both premises.



Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
De Neys, Wim. 2020. “Morality, Normativity, and the Good System 2 Fallacy”. Diametros 17 (64):90-95.
Share |


Amer T., Campbell K.L., Hasher L. (2016), “Cognitive Control as a Double-edged Sword,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 20 (12): 905–915.

Bago B., De Neys W. (2017), “Fast logic?: Examining the Time Course Assumption of Dual Process Theory,” Cognition 158: 90–109.

Bago B., De Neys W. (2019), “The Intuitive Greater Good: Testing the Corrective Dual Process Model of Moral Cognition,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 148 (10): 1782–1801.

Bago B., De Neys W. (2019b), “The Smart System 1: Evidence for the Intuitive Nature of Correct Responding on the Bat-and-Ball Problem,” Thinking & Reasoning 25 (3): 257–299.

Baron J. (2017), “Utilitarian vs. Deontological Reasoning: Method, Results, and Theory,” [in:] Moral Inferences, J.-F. Bonnefon, B. Trémolière (eds.), Psychology Press, Hove: 137–151.

Baron J., Gürçay B. (2017), “A Meta-Analysis of Response-Time Tests of the Sequential Two-Systems Model of Moral Judgment,” Memory and Cognition 45 (4): 566–575.

Beilock S.L., DeCaro M.S (2007), “From Poor Performance to Success Under Stress: Working Memory, Strategy Selection, and Mathematical Problem Solving Under Pressure,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 33 (6): 983–998.

Białek M., De Neys W. (2017), “Dual Processes and Moral Conflict: Evidence for Deontological Reasoners’ Intuitive Utilitarian Sensitivity,” Judgment and Decision Making 12 (2): 148–167.

De Neys W. (2012), “Bias and Conflict: A Case for Logical Intuitions,” Perspectives on Psychological Science 7 (1): 28–38.

De Neys W. (2017), Dual Process Theory 2.0, Routledge, Oxon.De Neys W., Pennycook G. (2019), “Logic, Fast and Slow: Advances in Dual-Process Theorizing,” Current Directions in Psychological Science 28 (5): 503–509.

Evans J.S.B.T. (2002), “Logic and Human Reasoning: An Assessment of the Deduction Paradigm,” Psychological Bulletin 128 (6): 978–996.

Evans J.S.B.T. (2011), “Dual-Process Theories of Reasoning: Contemporary Issues and Developmental Applications,” Developmental Review 31 (2–3): 86–102.

Evans J.S.B.T., Stanovich K.E. (2013), “Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition: Advancing the Debate,” Perspectives on Psychological Science 8 (3): 223–241.

Frankish K., Evans J.S.B.T. (2009), “The Duality of Mind: An Historical Perspective,” [in:] In Two Minds: Dual Processes and Beyond, J. Evans, K. Frankish (eds.), Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1–29.

Greene J. (2013), Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason and the Gap Between Us and Them, Penguin Press, New York.

Greene J., Haidt J. (2002), “How (and Where) Does Moral Judgment Work?,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6 (12): 517–523.

Gürçay B., Baron J. (2017), “Challenges for the Sequential Two-System Model of Moral Judgement,” Thinking & Reasoning 23 (1): 49–80.

Kahneman D. (2011), Thinking, Fast and Slow, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York.

Stanovich K.E., West R.F. (2000), “Individual Differences in Reasoning: Implications for the Rationality Debate?,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (5): 645–665.

Thompson V.A., Turner J.A.P., Pennycook G. (2011), “Intuition, Reason, and Metacognition,” Cognitive Psychology 63 (3): 107–140.

Trémolière B., Bonnefon J.-F. (2014), “Efficient Kill–Save Ratios Ease up the Cognitive Demands on Counterintuitive Moral Utilitarianism,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 40 (7): 923–930.