Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Clare Batty

Second Advisor

Dr. Arnold Farr


Moral perceptions occur when a subject makes an immediate discernment about the moral features of an occurrent experience. This project taxonomizes theories of moral perception into the following two camps: experientialism and judgementalism. I defend a version of experientialism, Moral Perceptual Orientation, by arguing that we, in addition to making moral judgments, have genuine perceptions with moral content during occurrent experience. I then go on to advance a framework for understanding how these perceptions are curated by our background beliefs by developing a view of dialectical consciousness. I do this by synthesizing Herbert Marcuse’s perspective on the epistemic subject with the Phenomenological division of Feminist Affect theory using Buddhist (Mahāyānan) moral psychology to account for the formation of those background beliefs, habits of thought, and affects which shape our moral perceptions. Lastly, I argue that oppressive modes of socialization can curate our moral perceptions by reproducing moral ignorance. This, in turn, perpetuates a form of moral blindness to moral reasons during occurrent experience, something which is a defining feature of our epistemic lives wherever domination and brutalization are valued, personally or structurally, over liberation and humanization.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)