From punishment to universalism

David Rose, Shaun Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Many philosophers have claimed that the folk endorse moral universalism. But while some empirical evidence supports the claim that the folk endorse moral universalism, this work has uncovered intra-domain differences in folk judgments of moral universalism. In light of all this, our question is: why do the folk endorse moral universalism? Our hypothesis is that folk judgments of moral universalism are generated in part by a desire to punish. We present evidence supporting this across three studies. On the basis of this, we argue for a debunking explanation of folk judgments of moral universalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-72
Number of pages14
JournalMind and Language
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • debunking
  • folk meta-ethics
  • punishment
  • universalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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