The use of moralistic statements in social manipulation: A reply to Roy A. Rappaport

Zygon 29 (3):351-355 (1994)
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Rappaport's comment includes several errors. First, he conflates manipulation and deceit. Second, he confuses the rationalism of the evolutionary biological analysis of organisms with the rationalism (or lack thereof) of the motivational and cognitive structures of the organisms under study. Third, his moralistic judgment of my focus on manipulation implies that scientists should not only not explore but should also suppress such unsettling ideas. We will make little progress in understanding morality and in fostering truly moral behavior if we refuse to acknowledge that moralistic statements may sometimes, and perhaps even often, be used in a manipulative way.



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