Maria Konnikova has an article in the New Yorker on whether there is bias in social psychology against conservatives. One of the people calling attention to the issue is Jonathan Haidt, whose work my long time readers will know I'm generally a fan of. The core issue that Haidt is calling attention to is the … Continue reading Are social psychologists biased against conservatives? A simple check for ideological bias.
Often, when I write about moral instincts, people respond with assertions that we're essentially selfish creatures and that nothing about morality is natural. There's a name for this concept of the solely self serving human being, "Homo economicus." The Neuroskeptic discusses a study that looked for them: Spotted at last: "Homo economicus"? - Neuroskeptic | DiscoverMagazine.com. … Continue reading The vast majority of us are not “Homo economicus”.
Gallup did a poll on American positions on various moral issues, finding that Americans are now more accepting than ever on a range of issues. Most of these I don't find particularly surprising. Of course, it turns out that Democrats and Republicans have differences of opinion on many of them. HuffPost, in their write up of … Continue reading American positions on moral issues and tensions between the moral foundations
Our recent discussions, particularly on the thread about Jonathan Haidt's response to Sam Harris's challenge, left me thinking about the various scopes of objective facts. In retrospect, it's a bit obvious to me now that a key question in moral philosophy is, if morality is objective, at what scope is it objective? Haidt used the … Continue reading The scope of objective facts and morality
Several commenters have said I should not just critique the excessive certainty of the New Atheists. I should respond directly to Sam Harris’s Moral Landscape Challenge. I should say why I think the argument he makes about a science of morality are wrong. (Harris argues that what is right and wrong can be determined scientifically, … Continue reading Why I think Sam Harris is wrong about morality | The Righteous Mind
The New Atheist Sam Harris recently offered to pay $10,000 to anyone who can disprove his arguments about morality. Jonathan Haidt analyzes the nature of reasoning, and the ease with which reason becomes a servant of the passions. He bets $10,000 that Harris will not change his mind. via This View of Life: Why Sam … Continue reading This View of Life: Why Sam Harris is Unlikely to Change his Mind
Last week, I made a post on the fact that we have desires, urges, impulses, motivations, that are inherently not rooted in reason or logic, that while reason and logic are extremely useful, they are tools of these desires, these instincts. And that while reason can have an effect on how we resolve conflicts between … Continue reading The foundations of morality
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOtlN4pNArk Brosnan and de Waal’s finding of fairness in the capuchin monkey has settled the long-standing question of whether animals have a sense of fairness and further blurred the line between humans and other animals in a new territory: the sphere of morality. *** The questions now are how fairness works and why it evolved. … Continue reading This View of Life: The Evolution of Fairness
Why do the leaders of some religious groups like the Catholics and now even evangelicals oppose contraception, to the extent of even objecting to health insurance policies covering it? After all, access to safe, reliable, and easy contraception has to be one of the most beneficial advances that society has made. And the fact that … Continue reading Why evangelicals and Catholic leaders are against contraception | Machines Like Us
There are some famous thinkers, Sam Harris and Michael Shermer, among others, who are currently attempting to sell the idea that we should have a "science of morality". They assert that moral propositions reduce to matters of fact about the wellbeing of conscious creatures. Many philosophers, such as Massimo Pigliuci, take umbrage at this, seeing … Continue reading Why science, philosophy, or religion cannot determine morality