SEP 23

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8: SEP 23


In-class content

  • Philosophical Moral Theories: Duty

Hibbing, Chapter 4: Drunk Flies and Salad Greens (89-96)

  • From Fall2020 Philosophy of food, Food News!:
  • Are there Trump and Biden fridges? [1]
  • Neuropolitics as focus of research [2]
  • Note this "conceptual point": Point about fruit flies: taste for glycerol has biological basis, manipulable, yet we'd say the fly "likes" beer. POINT: Variation in human preferences yet also biologically instantiated. They are still your preferences even if (especially if?) biologically instantiated. Focus on this chapter: taste/prefs diffs of conservatives/liberals, their basis, connection to politics. Later, cars, stocks, etc.
  • Note also that they are acknowledging great variation in preferences. Not reductive.
  • Obama's arugula faux pas. studies (note problems): supports stereotype. 92: preferences not random in a population IPhone users and Rice Krisppie eaters.
  • Hibbing et al research 93-4: favorte meal v. new dish. expanded preference research to: new experiences, humour, fiction, art, prefs in poetry, living spaces,
  • Market research in politics: mentions RNC

Hibbing, Chapter 5: Do You See What I See?

  • Attention Studies research on Political difference:
  • Rorschach tests. seem to trigger different attentional and other biases.
  • Claim in this chapter: Differences in political temperament are tied to differences in a variety of perception and procession patterns prompted by stimuli. Liberals and conservatives see the world differently.
The Eyes Have it
  • Eye movement research - gaze cuing: gaze cuing test reveal sensitivity to social cues for everyone. Everyone is influenced by the gaze direction on the face. But these are averages. lots of variation.
  • research question: Are liberals more susceptible to gaze cuing than conservatives? Yes. liberals slow down under miscuing, but not conservatives. liberal are more sensitive to social context, conservatives to rules. 121: not necessarily one better than the other. But, interestingly (122) conservatives and liberals prefer their own attentional biases (at least weakly)! (Speculate here.)
Fitting Round Pigs into Square Holes 122
  • Categorization as Cognitive Temperament: tests allow us to see variations in cognitive temperament. hard categorizers vs. soft. Conservatives / liberals. 124: conservatives more likely to lock onto a task and complete it in a fashion that is both definitive and consistent with instructions.
  • Our Thoughts are Our Own - Or Are they?
  • Cognitive Processing of + and - content. Italian researcher Luciana Carraro, why do some people tend to pay attention to negative words over positive words? Used a Stroop Task measuring delay in reporting font color of negative words. Strong correlation with political orientation. "conservatives have a strong vigilence toward negative stimuli." Wasn't so much the valuation placed on negative words, but that negative stimuli triggered more attentional resources. [Alfino - I tend to associate this with other research suggesting conservatives have better awareness of "threat detection". Not surprisingly, our military skews conservative, while the academy skews liberal.]
  • Same researchers did a Dot Probe Test (measuring speed in identifying a gray dot on a positive or negative image. Assumption that speed equates with attentional disposition toward the stimuli). Liberals a bit quicker with positive images, conservatives with negative.
  • Hibbing et. al. wanted to replicate the Italian research. Used a Flanker Task. (measuring speed in reporting a feature of an image when flanked by two images congruent or incongruent to the main image. Assumption is that the less you are slowed down by incongruence, the more attentional resources you had for the image.) Replicated typical results: we are all faster with angry faces, for example. Conservative less impacted by the angry faces. Both groups reacted the same to happy faces.
What Are You Looking At? 129
  • 'Eye tracking attentional studies - dwell time'. Their research measured "dwell time" - time spent looking at an image. in a study, subjects are shown a group of images. General bias toward negative images. Theorized as having survival value. Conservatives spend a lot more time on negative images and quick to fix on negative images. Some weak evidence that liberals focus more on positive images, but sig. results concerned differentials.
Perception is Reality -- But is it real? 133
  • Since liberals and conservatives value positive and negative images in the same way, you might conclude that they see the same world but pay attention to parts of it with different degrees of interest or attention. But Hibbing et. al. are not so sure. In a study, they asked libs and cons to evaluate pos/negly their view of the status quo on six policy dimensions (134). They seem to assess the reality differently, they see different policies at work in the same society, not just attending more to some stimuli. Political difference might not be difference in preference, but in perception.
  • They also did some research on ranking degree of negativity of images and, unlike the Italian research, conservatives did rank negative images more negatively. In another study (135-6), researchers (Vigil) found that conservatives ranked faces as more dominant and threatening than liberals. [Interesting that in both the 1918 pandemic and today's, conservatives resisted mask wearing. Nice coincidence with today's bizarre mask politics story.]
You're full of Beans
  • 'Cognitive style in exploration - BeanFest' -- a research game in which test subjects try to earn points by deciding whether to accept or reject a bean with an unknown point value. Based on personality, some subjects are more exploratory (accept more beans and get more information), while others are conservative. Political orientation also predicts strategy. Shook and Fazio see the result as indicative of differences in data acquisition strategies and learning styles. Interesting follow-up analysis based on giving test subjects a "final exam" on the bean values. Similar scores, but different patterns of classification.
  • 139: good summary paragraph: "New bean? What the hell, say the liberals, let's give it a whirl" Roughly equal scores on the game and exam.
  • exploratory behavior and related differences in valuing everyday ethical situations, like forgetting to return a CD. Can you think of a time you attached a judgement to a friend's behavior and then realized it was part of a larger pattern connected to their identity? Being late, tidy, calling back......
  • Differing attitudes toward science and religion. No surprise that science denial comes from the right. Partial effect of our cognitive styles. note p. 140.

Philosophical Moral Theories: Duty Ethics

  • Basic intuition behind non-consequential duty ethics: At a very basic level, moral behavior comes to us as a kind of "command". This can be felt as an external command (Divine Law) or an internal command (internalization of Divine law, or autonomous act. Duty in the modern sense is felt as a command to be true to some ideal or conception of ourselves.
  • Typical formulation of "modern" duty ethics comes from Kant.
  • What does it mean to be good? To have a good will. The will to do the right thing. Not for rewards.
  • Bartender example. Self-interested motivations don’t count (fear of getting caught, losing customers, harming customers).
  • What is it that Kant wants you to love and swear absolute duty to? A little background on Kant. Enlightenment figure. (Mill comes later, but also expresses Enlightenment ideas.) Morality originates in my free will. The ability to make rules for ourselves. Being rational. Being bad is a failure of duty to revere this freedom in me and in others. (Note: Philosophers just can't shake the search for rational principles. No apologies from me, but let's note the implications. Abstraction from evolved social behaviors. But maybe that's ok depending upon how we use philosophical theories: foundational explanatory accounts vs. tools, heuristics to represent our thinking...)
  • Categorical Imperative: “I ought never to act except in such a way that I could also will that my maxim should become universal law.” ...if it makes sense for you to will that everyone act from your maxim. This is a kind of test.
  • Lying. Fails the test. Contradiction between maxim of truth telling and maxim of lying. You want people to believe you after all.
  • Formulation #2: Act in such a way that you treat humanity... always as an end and never simply as a means. Requires respect of others as source of rational planning.
  • Are we using people only as an end when we get services from others? Not necessarily. Recall video.
  • Formulation #3: Act as though through your actions you could become a legislator of universal morals. We are examples, contributing to a rational order or not. (Are you on "team Reason"? How do we integrate that with knowledge of morality as a system of evolved social behaviors?)
  • Rationalism: Kant thinks we can all agree, in principle, about what counts as a good will, what counts as a principle of action (maxim) that satisfies the categorical imperative.

SW1 Group discussion

  • Looking carefully at the prompt. Try to break down the prompts into smaller tasks.
  • Don't rush to the writing. Think about the strategy for writing and the content separately.
  • Brief look at the Assignment Rubric
  • Once more time on how to turn in your SW1 Writing
  • How to assure your anonymity in Word.
  • How you will know who to review.
  • How we handle late arriving work.
  • Please try to be on time and review rules for submitting work.