Summer1 2014 Ethics Course Lecture Notes A

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Return to Ethics Online Summer 2014

Reference Dates: We don't have specific class dates in this online course, but here are some dates that I might post information on.

Contents

Monday May 19, 2014

Tuesday May 20, 2014

Ariely, Why We Lie

  • Research on honesty with the "matrix task"
  • Shredder condition
  • Payment condition
  • Probability of getting caught condition
  • Distance of payment condition
  • Presence of a cheater condition
  • Priming with 10 commandments or signature on top of form
  • Implications

Tips on How to report study findings

  • observational, survey, experimental
  • study setup: for observational: who were the test subjects, what were they asked to do; for survey: what instrument was used, to whom was it given?
  • what conditions were tested?
  • what was the immeditate result?
  • what was the significance or inference to be made from the results?

Wednesday May 21, 2014

Haidt, The Righteous Mind, Intro and Chapter 1

  • Moral reasoning as a means of finding truth vs. furthering social agendas.
  • Harmless taboo violations: eating the dog / violating a dead chicken.
  • Brief background on developmental & moral psychology: nativists, empiricists, rationalists
  • Piaget's rationalism: kids figure things out for themselves if they have normal brains and the right experiences. "self-constructed" - alt to nature/nurture.
  • Kohlberg's "Heinz story" - note problems, p. 9.
  • Turiel: kids don't treat all moral rules the same: very young kids distinguish "harms" from "social conventions"
  • Haidt's puzzle about Turiel: other dimensions of moral experience, like "purity" and "pollution" seem operative at young ages and deep in culture (witches). Found answers in Schweder's work.
  • Schweder: sociocentric vs. individualistic cultures. Interview subjects in sociocentric societies don't make the conventional/non-conventional distinction.
  • Point of harmless taboo violations: pit intuitions about norms and conventions against intuitions about the morality of harm. Showed that Schweder was right. The morality/convention distinction was culturally variable.

Thursday May 22, 2014

Haidt, Chapter 1,"The Divided Self"

  • opening story
  • Animals in Plato's metaphor for soul; contemporary metaphors. metaphors.
  • Mind vs. Body
  • Left vs. Right
  • New vs. Old
  • Controlled vs. Automatic
  • Failures of Self-control [[1]]
  • Haidt's "disgust" studies.
  • Add in sociological dimension to consider values as socially instantiated.

Monday May 26, 2014

Haidt, Chapter 2, "The Intuitive Dog and Its Rational Tail"

  • Philosophy's "rationalist delusion"
  • 30: Plato, Hume, and Jefferson - three models of the mind
  • A brief history of moral philosophy:
  • Stage 1: moralism (Anti-nativism): reactions against bad nativism, like Social Darwinism, 60s ideology suggesting that we can liberate ourselves from our biology and traditional morality (as contraception appeared to). Wilson's prophecy.
  • Stage 2: Nativism (natural selection gives us minds "preloaded" with moral emotions) in the 90s: Wilson, de Waal, Damasio (note studies of patients with dysfunction vmPFC)
  • Stage 3: Evolutionary Psychology in moral psychology.
  • studying controlled vs. automatic process by testing under "cognitive load" -- some moral decision making not impaired by load
  • Studies of "moral dumbfounding:
  • Roach-juice
  • Soul selling
  • Harmless Taboo violations: Incest story; Cadaver nibbling; compare to Kohlberg's Heinz stories (reasoning vs. confounding) -- evidence that the elephant is talking.
  • Ev. psych. research outside moral psychology
  • Wasson card selection test: Margolis' "seeing that" vs. "seeing why" -- note that morality involves the latter as well.
  • Rider and Elephant
  • Important to see Elephant as making judgements (processing info), not just "feeling"
  • 45: Elephant and Rider defined
  • Social Intuitionist Model

Tuesday May 27, 2014

Haidt, Chapter Three, "Elephants Rule"

  • Personal Anecdote: your inner lawyer
  • Priming studies:
  • "take" "often" -- works with neutral stories also
  • Research supporting "intuitions come first"
  • 1. Brains evaluate instantly and constantly
  • Zajonc on "affective primacy"-- applies to made up language
  • 2. Social and Political judgements intuitive
  • flashing word pairs with dissonance: "flower - happiness" vs. "hate - sunshine" (affective priming)
  • Implicit Association Test
  • flashing word pairs with political terms causes dissonance.
  • Todorov's work extending "attractiveness" advantage to snap ju-- note: Dissonance is pain.'
  • judgements of competence. note speed of judgement (59)
  • 3. Bodies guide judgements
  • Fart Spray exaggerates moral judgements (!)
  • Zhong: hand washing before and after moral judgements. "Macbeth effect" (connection between body and morality)
  • Helzer and Pizarro: standing near a sanitizer strengthens conservatism.
  • 4. Psychopaths: reason but don't feel
  • Robert Hare, researcher on psychpaths: testimony.
  • 5. Babies: feel but don't reason
  • Theory behind startle response studies in infants
  • Bloom's moral puppet shows: helper and hinderer puppet shows
  • Social interaction appraisal at six months: reaching for helper puppets
  • 6. Affective reactions in the brain
  • When does the elephant listen to reason?
  • Friends... The Importance of Friends -- back to social intuitionism
  • Are we determined to follow the elephant (our own or our friends')? The importance of delay

Method: Giving Philosophical Arguments in Ethics

  • Distinguish:
  • Research results
  • Significance of results
  • Justification of theories
  • What are the reasons for thinking that the nature of morality is disclosed by psychological studies?
  • Descriptive (scientific or observational) vs. Justificatory (ought we, can we act otherwise than the way nature disposes us to act?) claims

Wednesday May 28, 2014

de Waal, intro & p. 5-21

  • Veneer Theory -
  • Theory of Mind - (xvi)
  • Clue from intro about how commentators will respond: not as veneer theorists, but to question continuity between moral emotions and "being moral".
  • Homo homini lupus
  • Thesis: No asocial history to humans. And note: unequal in competition for status.
  • Distinction between: 1) seeing morality as a "choice" humans made; and 2) morality as "outgrowth" of social instincts.
  • T. H. Huxley: gardener metaphor. (contra Darwin, who includes morality in evolution.)
  • Freud: civilization as renunciation of instinct.
  • Dawkins: genes are selfish, but in the end we can break with them.
  • Veneer Theory: "Scratch an altruist and watch a hypocrite bleed"
  • Robert Wright (contemporary evolutionist): morality as mask for selfishness.
  • Evolutionary "selfishness" vs. moral "selfishness" -- role of intention. Seem opposed, but major thesis for de Waal is that they are not: a "selfish" evolutionary process can produce altruism as a strategy.
  • Darwin influenced by Adam Smith
  • Westermark: observation of camel's revenge.
  • Chimps punish and seek revenge also. Engage in reconciliation.
  • "reciprocal altruism"
  • "moral emotions" p. 20

de Waal, "Morally Evolved," 21-42

  • Empathy -- posits more complex forms (moral emotions) from simpler (ex. emotional contagion)
  • Evidence in primates of simple emotions:
  • comforting, response to distress (25) -- from emotional contagion to empathy.
  • sympathy defined (26) -- empathy is broader "changing places in fancy" (Adam Smith)
  • Rhesus monkeys won't shock each other (29)
  • Anecdotes:
  • How does Ladygina-Kohts get her monkey off the roof?
  • Kuni and the starling
  • Krom's helping behavior with the tires "targeted helping"
  • Binit Jua, zoo gorilla, rescues child.
  • Consolation behavior in apes (chimps and apes and gorillas, but not monkeys)
  • de Waal study on post aggression comforting contacts (34)
  • Why not monkeys? Self-awareness level -- mirror self-recognition (MSR) in apes. Correlates with children.
  • de Waal's "Russian Doll" metaphor: from emotional contagion to cognitive empathy.
  • mirror neurons, muscle contractions
  • defintion of empathy (finally!) at 39 (roughly, all of the ways that one individual's emotional state affects anothers') and 41: def of cognitive empathy -- targeted helping, distinction bt self/other.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

de Waal, Morally Evolved, Part 3

  • Reciprocity and Fairness
  • testing hypotheses about food sharing in chimps "spontaneous services" (inc. grooming)
  • competing hypotheses: good mood sharing vs. partner-specific reciprocity (favoring those who previously cooperated)
  • evidence favored latter hypothesis.
  • studying fairness in terms of reward expectation or "inequity aversion"
  • limits to monkey fairness: no sharing between rich and poor.
  • Mencious and "reciprocity"
  • Community Concern: evolution in human thought to expand circle of moral concern.
  • Dark side of morality. Groupish behavior.
  • Mention of Haidt: intuitionism compatible with de Waal's viewpoint.
  • Alien thought experiment. sort of like a trolley problem.
  • The Beethoven Error

Monday June 2, 2014

Tuesday June 3, 2014

Haidt, Chapter 4, "Vote for Me (Here's Why)"

  • Ring of Gyges
  • Tetlock: accountability research
  • Exploratory vs. Confirmatory thought
  • Conditions promoting exploratory thought
  • 1) knowing ahead of time that you'll be called to account;
  • 2) not knowing what the audience thinks;
  • 3) believing that the audience is well informed and interested in truth or accuracy.
  • Leary's research on self-esteem importance- "sociometer" -- non-conscious level mostly.
  • Confirmation bias
  • Wasson again -- number series
  • Deann Kuhn -- 80: We are horrible at theorizing (requiring exploratory thought)....
  • David Perkins research on reason giving
  • Can I believe it? vs. Must I believe it?
  • Section 3 - Conditions affecting honesty
  • Political scandals involving unpublished expense accounts
  • Correct change
  • Aiely again
  • Section 4 - Motivated Reasoning
  • Research tracking reason seeking and evidence seeking behaviors under conditions of motivation (self esteem on the line) (examples?)
  • Even affects visual perception (perception or reward conferring characters on computer screen) (also, sports examples)
  • Section 5 - Application to political beliefs: group affiliation enhances distorted thinking....
  • Does selfish interest or group affiliation predict policy preferences?
  • Drew Westen's fMRI research on strongly partisan individuals. dlPFC not activated, whereas other areas were.
  • Good thinking as an emergent property.
  • Statement, 90, on H's view of political life in light of this way of theorizing. read and discuss.

Wednesday June 4, 2014

Haidt, Chapter 5, "Beyond WEIRD Morality"

  • WEIRD morality is the morality of Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic cultures
  • just as likely to be bothered by taboo violations, but more likely to set aside feelings of disgust and allow violations
  • only group with majority allowing chicken story violation.
  • "the weirder you are the more likely you are to see the world in terms of separate objects, rather than relationships" "sociocentric" moralities vs. individualistic moralities
  • framed-line task 97
  • Shweder's anthropology: ethics of autonomy, community, divinity 99-100
  • claims schweder's theory predicts responses on taboo violation tests
  • ethic of divinity: body as temple vs. playground
  • vertical dimension to values. explains reactions to flag desecration, piss Christ, thought exp: desecration of liberal icons.
  • Discussion questions:
  • Are WEIRD moral cultures more rational and therefore "better" (embodying a most distinctively human morality, for example, following Singer & Koorsgaard?)
  • How WEIRD are you?

Thursday June 5, 2014

Haidt, Chapter 6, "Taste Buds of the Righteous Mind"

  • Explaining moral diversity. Argument against the reductive project of philosophical ethics, which he labels "moral monism"
  • "the righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors"
  • Enlightenment thought, two sources of transcendence: God & Reason
  • Hume represents a third enlightenment option: Nature
  • But the legacy of the enlightenment in ethics was rationalism
  • Represented in the "moral autism": Bentham (utlitarianism), Kant (deontology)
  • Ethics as search for "algorithm" apart from empathy and prosocial emotions (Mill is better)
  • (not from text): overview of utilitarian and Kantian ethics
  • Principle of Utility: calculus of pleasure/pain
  • Kantian Deontology: categorical imperative. non-contradiction guiding moral principles
  • Evolutionary accounts
  • Avoiding bad evolutionary theory or evolutionary psychology: "just so stories"
  • Just because you find a structure or trait in human society or physiology, it doesn't mean it has a function. Just so stories make functional claims without foundation: e.g. how the leopard got it's spots, how a camels got its humps, elephants trunks, giraffes necks...
  • Modularity in evolutionary psychology: original vs. current triggers. Seems to account for cultural variability, yet grounded in original evolutionary problems.
  • CFLAS: See chart, p. 125


Monday June 9, 2014

Haidt, Chapter 7

  • Homo economicus vs. Homo sapiens -- column a b -- shows costs of sapiens psych. commitments "taste buds"
  • Note on Innateness
  • Notes on each foundation:
  • Care/Harm -- ev.story of asymmetry m/f, attachment theory. current triggers.
  • Fairness/Cheating -- Trivers and reciprocal altruism. "tit for tat" ; equality vs. proportionality
  • Loyalty/Betrayal -- tribalism. liberals experience low emphasis here.
  • Authority/Subversion -- hierarchy in animal and human society; liberals experience this differently also.
  • Sanctity/Degradation -- Miewes-Brandes horror. Mill. ev.story: omnivores challenge is to spot foul food and disease (pathogens, parasites). (Being an omnivore is messy. One should not be surprised to find that vegetarians often appreciate the cleanliness of their diet.) neophilia and neophobia. Images of chastity in religion and public debate. understanding culture wars.
  • Group Discussion: Critical Evaluation of Moral Foundations Theory as explanation of moral and political difference. Is it a problem that we don't experience our moral and political life this way?


Tuesday June 10, 2014

Haidt, Chapter 9, "Why Are We so Groupish?"

  • Part III: wants to complete the picture: sure we're selfish (or pursure enlightened self-interest), but we're also groupish.
  • track meanings of terms: selfish, enlightened self-interest
  • what sort of groupishness: soley for self-interest or independent (parallel) mechanisms?
  • Slogan for part three: morality binds and blinds.
  • Darwin quote: 192. Multi-level selection.
  • Why would "groupish groups" have an advantage over a group of individualists?
  • Revisit the connection between concern about appearing good and being good: reputation functions in both ways.
  • background: Williams, 1966, Adaptation and Natural Selection. favored lower level structures to explain selection. altrusism reduces to self-interest. Also Dawkins, 76, Selfish Gene. Williams quote on morality 198.
  • Evidence for a group selection (mult-level selection) view of morality.
  • Exhibit A: Major transitions in organism structure involving wholes.
  • From biology: cell structure with non-competition among parts. single celled eukaryotes
  • next transition: multi-cellular organisms
  • example of wasp cooperation: hymenoptera divide reproduction labor from maintainance of "hive".
  • "the genes that got to ride around in colony crushed the genes that "couldn't get it together" and rode around in selfish and solitary insects" (note: a groupish trait spreads among individuals)
  • Eusociality -- the human story (as opposed to ants, bees, and wasps)
  • Exhibit B: Shared Intentionality
  • Chimps vs. Us -- shared intentionality
  • two ways to hunt
  • thesis: we crossed the rubicon when we achieved shared intentionality and linked reward/punishing emotions with it. (also Tomasello's)
  • Exhibit C: Gene-culture co-evolution
  • Learning, accumulation, (mention The Great Sea)
  • Homo habilis' big brains, then 2.4 million years of them.
  • Achueulean tool kit.
  • Hunting with spears - Hono heidelbergensis: 600-700K "the rubicon"
  • Lactose intolerance
  • "self-domestication"
  • Exhibit D: Speed of evolution
  • controversy over speed of selection: Gould vs. recent evidence of acceleration
  • breeding foxes (mention dogs social cognition)
  • group selected hens
  • [mention Pinker's hypothesis]
  • population bottlenecks.
  • concluding point about competition vs. war.


Wednesday June 11, 2014

Haidt, Ch 10, "The Hive Switch"

  • Humans are "conditional" hive creatures
  • Muscular bonding
  • Hive switch in celebration and dance: cultures which repress dance. Durkheim's "collective effervescence"; sacred / profane
  • Awe in nature: Emerson's transparent eyeball experience.
  • Entheogens - in history of religion; contemporary versions
  • Oxytocin - note studies: effect on bonding, but not with outgroups.
  • Mirror Neurons - in humans hooked more into emotional systems.
  • Leadership studies -
  • Evaluating the Hive Switch


Thursday June 12, 2014

Sandel, Utilitarianism

  • life boat case: They eat Parker(more canabalism!) - similar to Trolley Problem.
  • Is this a case of costs vs. benefit? How does it come out?
  • Contrast in Approaches to Justice: consequences vs. right and duties.
  • Bentham's defense of the principle of utility.
  • Workhouse for poor
  • Panopticon
  • (also the start of social welfare statistics)
  • Objection 1: Rights are primary. (develop argument on board)
  • Case of torture under extreme conditions. New condition: torturing terrorist's daughter.
  • Objection 2: Is there a common currency for comparison of pleasures? (develop argument on board)
  • Case: Phillip Morris in Czech Republic.
  • Case: Ford Pinto '70s.
  • Issue: Does life span enter into value. Older cost less.
  • Empirical approach: Actual cost we pay in driving fatalities.
  • Whose problem is it?
  • Small Group Assessment: How should we value human life in cases involving compensation or investment (e.g. in safer highways) given that we have a deep intuition that lives are not objects to be bought and sold?
  • Mill and the defense of Liberty
  • Progressivism: liberty promotes happiness over the long term. (Update on desirability of "liberty" and self-determination as a political ideal.)
  • Small Group assessment: Is liberty just another cultural ideology? What should our attitude be toward socio-centric societies that regard it as a threat to their culture?
  • Can a Utilitarian admit difference in kind between pleasures?
  • Doctrine of the qualified judge.
  • Other approaches to human difference.
  • Sandel's claim that appeal to ideal of human dignity independent of wants and desires is an inconsistency.


Singer, Ch. 1, "A Changing World"

  • Globalization: Terrorism, climate change, (added: human migration)
  • US interests: political consensus (dems/repubs) on Bush remark.
  • Should political leaders adopt an internationalist stance (beyond interests of their nation-state)?
  • competing models of leadership
  • Historical parable: reaction to 1914 assasination of Crown Prince Ferdinand (and wife) by Bosnian Serb nationalists, starting WW1. Objections to Autro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia. Compare to international reaction to US demands of Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden. principle p. 7, new today vs. WW1.
  • Rawls "old school" scope for theory of justice
  • Is the Nation-state on the decline?
  • Should we be internationalists? Why is multilaterism no longer a political topic in the US?


Monday June 16, 2014

Sandel, Chapter 6: Rawls

  • Problem of choosing principles of justice for a society
  • thought experiment: veil of ignorance - note: important that we know human psychology.
  • we would exclude both utilitarianism and libertarianism
  • Two main principles
  • equal basic liberties for all
  • differences in social and economic equality must work to advantage of the least well off.
  • Nature of a contract
  • fairness of contract may dep. on circumstances of execution
  • expectations change with timeline and events (ex of lobsters)
  • Two main concepts underlying contracts:
  • autonomy
  • reciprocity
  • Consent and Benefits -- examples of fair/unfair contracts
  • baseball card trade among diff aged siblings
  • contractor fraud in the leaky toilet case
  • Hume's home repairs -- no consent but still obligation
  • repair guy -- what if he fixed the car? would benefit alone confer obligation.
  • squeegee men -- potential for benefit to be imposed coercively
  • Point: Rawls veil of ignorance establishes theoretical equality of participants to contract. Contract could be fundamentally fair and guarantee autonomy and reciprocity
  • Justifying the Difference Principle
  • Why not be libertarian about it?
  • Concept of morally arbitrary criteria for distributing benefits of labor: birth, class, somewhat taken care of with equality of education and opportunity, but starting points are still different.
  • Even if you could solve that problem, you would still have the problem of relying on the moral arbitrariness of natural talent -- a "natural lottery"
  • Even if you could solve that problem, you'd have the arbitrariness of what the society values (try being a basketball player in the middle ages.
  • Rawls thinks he's found a form of egalitarianism that mediates between morally arbitrary distributions and overburdening the most talented members of the society.
  • Objections
  • diminished incentives
  • rewarding effort
  • In the end, Rawls view of justice does not involve rewards based on moral desert. odd result. In trying to avoid morally arbitrary features, he arrives at something like "respect for persons as fairness" as the morally relevant feature.

Tuesday June 17, 2014

Singer, "Rich and Poor"

  • facts about absolute poverty (updated for 2013: [2]
  • difference between grain consumption accounted for in terms of meat consumption. problem of distribution rather than production.
  • absolute affluence = affluent by any reasonable definition of human needs.
  • figures on giving by country: OPEC countries most generous. U.S. and Japan least.
  • The Moral equivalent of murder?
  • Five purported differences:
  • 1. Allowing to die not eq. to killing. no intention to kill.
  • 2. Impossible to ask us to be obligated to keep everyone alive.
  • 3. Uncertainty of outcome in not aiding vs. pointing a gun. less direct responsibility, less like 1st deg. murder.
  • 4. No direct and identifiable causal connection between consumerist action and death of individuals in other countries.
  • 5. People would be starving with or without me. I am not a necessary condition for there to be starving people.
  • Main argumentative point: These differences are extrinsic to the moral problem. there would be cases with these features in which we would still hold the person responsible.
  • 1. Example of salesman selling tainted food. doesn't matter if no identifiable victim in advance.
  • 2. Lack of certainty about the value of donations does reduce the wrongness of not giving (concession), but doesn't mean that its ok not to give. (Note: Since 1975 there has been a big increase in the accountability of relief efforts. Consider UN Millennium Development Goals)
  • 3. Responsibility for acts but not omissions is incoherent way to think about responsibility. Consequences of our actions are our responsibility. Irrelevant that the person would have died if I had never existed.
  • Considers non-consequentialist justifications for not aiding (166) idea of independent individual in Locke and Nozick doesn't make sense.
  • 4. Absence of malice also doesn't excuse inaction. involuntary manslaughter (in the case say of a speeding motorist) is still blameworthy.
  • 5. Grants that we may not be as blameworthy for not saving many lives if saving those live requires heroic action.
  • Positive Argument: The obligation to assist:
  • Principle: if it is in our power to prevent something vey bad happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance, we ought to do it.
  • Goes on to claim that it is within the power of dev. countries to aid the poor without sacrificing . . . etc.
  • considers major objections:
  • taking care of your own
  • property rights [at most weakens the argument for mandatory giving (but note that governmental means might be the most effective, esp. where problems have a political dimension)
  • population growth and the ethics of triage

Sachs, Jeffrey, "Can the Rich Afford to Help the Poor?" (2006)

  • (One of the architects of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Opposed by some noted development economists.)
  • Optimist about relief: .7 GNP level of giving adequate. Absolute poverty down from 1/3 to 1/5 (interesting to compare US discussion in 1960 at the start of the domestic "war on poverty" of the Johnson administration)
  • Increase in wealth of the rich world is dramatic (note Rawlsian difference principle from yesterday)
  • (Digression on actual giving: [3]
  • Note analysis on pages 294 of amounts that developing countries can supply to meet their own poverty needs. Middle-income countries like Brazil, Chile, and Mexico have enough.
  • Can the US afford to meet a .7 GNP target?
  • Sachs considers this obvious. To dramatize his point, on pages 304-308, he points out that the wealthiest 400 US citizens earned more than the total populations of Botswana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda. More to the point, the tax cuts this group received during the Bush administration in 2001, 2002, and 2003 totaled about 50 billion a year, enough to meet the US giving goal of .7% of GNP.

Wendnesday June 18, 2014

Korsgaard, "Morality and the Distinctiveness of Human Action"

  • On Veneer Theory
  • not coherent: views morality as contraint of self-interest maximization
  • Do we really pursue our self-interests (ha!)
  • Not coherent concept for a social animal as complex as us.
  • Morality not constraints on self-interest, but defining of a way of life. treating as ends/means. What could latter mean?
  • On continuity/discontinuity of ethics with evolution
  • we're more like apes than people think, but there's still a deep discontinuity
  • we're "damaged" in some way that suggests a break with nature.
  • de Waal is like some sentimentalists who incorrectly infer intention from behavior. Embarks on analysis of different levels or meanings of purpose or intention.
  • range or scale: anything with "function organization" can be said to have purposes (ex. p. 107)
  • next stage: perceptual animal's movements have purposes, but those purposes are not "before the mind"
  • next stage: animal that has purposes "before the mind" and can "entertain thoughts about how to achieve them" -- closer to being an agent. Still, at this level there is no choosing. "the animals purposes are given to him by his affective state"
  • Is the capuchin "protesting the unfairness" or "angling for a grape"
  • next stage: Asking "Is wanting this a good reason for pursuing it?" (justification)
  • normative self-government 112: we choose not only means to ends but ends themselves
  • 117: "not a mere matter of degree"

Thursday June 19, 2014

Monday June 23, 2014

Haidt, Ch 12, "Can't We All Disagree More Constructively?"

  • evidence of polarization in American politics (cf. to Italy)
  • "right" and "left", historical origins, basis in heritable traits
  • 1: Genes make brains - diff responses to threat and fear.
  • 2: Dispositional traits lead to different experiences, which lead to "characteristic adaptations"
  • 3: Life narratives; Moral Foundations Theory found in stories people tell about religious experience.
  • Political narratives of Republicans and Democrats.
  • Liberals worse at predicting conservatives responses.
  • Moral and Social Capital -- moral capital: resources that sustain a moral community. moral capital not always straightforward good (293).
  • Liberal blindspots and wisdom: 1) regulating super-organisms; 2)solving soluble problems.
  • Libertarian wisdom: 1) markets are powerful
  • Social Conservative wisdom: understanding threats to social capital (can't destroy the hive)

Tuesday June 24, 2014

Wednesday June 25, 2014

Thursday June 26, 2014