The adequacy of currently popular accounts of the genetic basis for psychological altruism, including inclusive fitness, reciprocal altruism, sociality, and group selection, is questioned. Problems exist both with the evidence cited as supporting these accounts and with the relevance of the accounts to what is being explained. Based on the empathy-altruism hypothesis, a more plausible account is proposed: generalized parental nurturance. It is suggested that four evolutionary developments combined to provide a genetic basis for psychological altruism. First is the evolution (...) in mammals of parental nurturance. Second is the evolution in humans of the ability to see others as sentient, intentional agents and, thereby, to recognize other's needs, even subtle ones. Third is the evolution in humans of tender, empathic emotions as an important component of parental nurturance. Fourth is the evolution in humans of cognitive capacities that make it possible to generalize tender, empathic feelings and, thereby, altruism beyond offspring. (shrink)
Communities gather persons sharing saliencies, the meaning of events, and accountability based in shared values and practices. These shared features ensure community wide legitimacy for moral agents and their reasons for acting. But they also might ensure personal reasons for action are not universally legitimate. This discussion considers Hannah Arendt’s and an alternative view of judgment seeking an ac-count of community-limited legitimacy for reasons in both moral and closely related political thought.
This is the first comprehensive evaluation of Charles Taylor's work and a major contribution to leading questions in philosophy and the human sciences as they face an increasingly pluralistic age. Charles Taylor is one of the most influential contemporary moral and political philosophers: in an era of specialisation he is one of the few thinkers who has developed a comprehensive philosophy which speaks to the conditions of the modern world in a way that is compelling to specialists in (...) various disciplines. This collection of specially commissioned essays brings together twelve distinguished scholars from a variety of fields to discuss critically Taylor's work. The topics range from the history of philosophy, to truth, modernity and postmodernity, theism, interpretation, the human sciences, liberalism, pluralism and difference. Taylor responds to all the contributions and re-articulates his own views. (shrink)
In ‘Reincarnation and Relativized Identity’ 1 J. J. MacIntosh argues that reincarnation is impossible. I wish to make a slightly backhanded defence of reincarnation by showing that MacIntosh's argument does not succeed. I do not follow his recipe for defence of reincarnation exactly.
Why do moral people so often fail to act morally? Standard scientific answers point to poor moral judgment (based on deficient character development, reason, or intuition) or to situational pressure. I consider a third possibility: a relative lack of truly moral motivation and emotion. What has been taken for moral motivation is often instead a subtle form of egoism. Recent research provides considerable evidence for moral hypocrisy—motivation to appear moral while, if possible, avoid the cost of actually being moral—but very (...) little evidence for moral integrity—motivation to actually be moral. The lack of truly moral motivation may, in turn, be linked to a lack of truly moral emotion, at least in response to violation of certain moral standards. (shrink)
Most works on moral psychology direct our attention to the positive role morality plays for us as individuals, as a society, even as a species. In What's Wrong with Morality?, C. DanielBatson takes a different approach: he looks at morality as a problem. The problem is not that it is wrong to be moral, but that our morality often fails to produce these intended results. Why? Some experts believe the answer lies in lack of character. Others say (...) we are victims of poor judgment. If we could but discern what is morally right, whether through logical analysis and discourse, through tuned intuition and a keen moral sense, or through feeling and sentiment, we would act accordingly. Implicit in these different views is the assumption that if we grow up properly, if we can think and feel as we should, and if we can keep a firm hand on the tiller through the storms of circumstance, all will be well. We can realize our moral potential. Many of our best writers of fiction are less optimistic. Astute observers of the human condition like Austen, Balzac, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Eliot, Tolstoy, and Twain suggest our moral psychology is more complex. These writers encourage us to look more closely at our motives, emotions, and values, at what we really care about in the moral domain. In this volume, Batson examines this issue from a social-psychological perspective. Drawing on research suggesting our moral life is fertile ground for rationalization and deception, including self-deception, Batson offers a hard-nosed analysis of morality and its limitations in this expertly written book. (shrink)
Why do people act morally – when they do? Moral philosophers and psychologists often assume that acting morally in the absence of incentives or sanctions is a product of a desire to uphold one or another moral principle (e.g., fairness). This form of motivation might be called moral integrity because the goal is to actually be moral. In a series of experiments designed to explore the nature of moral motivation, colleagues and I have found little evidence of moral integrity. We (...) have found considerable evidence of a different form of moral motivation, moral hypocrisy. The goal of moral hypocrisy is to appear moral yet, if possible, avoid the cost of being moral. To fully reach the goal of moral hypocrisy requires self-deception, and we have found evidence of that as well. Strengthening moral integrity is difficult. Even effects of moral perspective taking – imagining yourself in the place of the other (as recommended by the Golden Rule) – appear limited, further contributing to the moral masquerade. (shrink)
This book traces the scientific search for altruism through numerous studies and attempts to examine various motivational suspects, reaching the improbable conclusion that empathy-induced altruism is indeed part of our nature. The book then considers the implications of this conclusion both for our understanding of who we are as humans and for how we might create a more humane society.
Moral hypocrisy is motivation to appear moral yet, if possible, avoid the cost of actually being moral. In business, moral hypocrisy allows one to engender trust, solve the commitment problem, and still relentlessly pursue personal gain. Indicating the power of this motive, research has provided clear and consistent evidence that, given the opportunity, many people act to appear fair (e.g., they flip a coin to distribute resources between themselves and another person) without actually being fair (they accept the flip only (...) if it favors themselves). New evidence also indicates the power of moral hypocrisy in a situation more obviously relevant to business, resource allocation when one party has information about relative resource value that the other does not. Characteristics of modern business situations likely to encourage moral hypocrisy are outlined. We conclude that moral hypocrisy is not only a pragmatic virtue in modern business but is also fast becoming a prescriptive one. (shrink)
Sober and Wilson (1998) render a valuable service by bringing together discussions of evolutionary altruism and psychological altruism. They do a disservice by interpreting the results of experiments designed to test for the existence of psychological altruism as less conclusive than the data warrant. Sober and Wilson claim that new egoistic explanations can account for the existing experimental evidence, but they only offer explanations that have already been ruled out. Insofar as I know, no plausible egoistic explanation currently exists for (...) the experimental evidence that feeling empathy for a person in need evokes altruistic motivation. Unless Sober and Wilson can provide a plausible egoistic explanation for the existing evidence, their ‘inconclusive’ conclusion should be corrected. (shrink)
We argue that the economy of nature constitutes an invocation of structure in the biological sciences, one largely missed by philosophers of biology despite the turn in recent years toward structural explanations throughout the philosophy of science. We trace a portion of the history of this concept, beginning with the theologically and economically grounded work of Linnaeus, moving through Darwin’s adaptation of the economy of nature and its reconstitution in genetic terms during the first decades of the Modern Synthesis. What (...) this historical case study reveals, we argue, is a window into the shifting landscape of the explanatory and ontic uses of structural concepts. In Linnaeus, the economy of nature has both ontic and explanatory import; in Darwin the ontic and explanatory aspects start to come apart ; and finally, in the Modern Synthesis, the economy of nature is replaced by the conceptual toolkit of population genetics, the structural elements of which are nearly entirely explanatory. Having traced a historical trajectory of structural concepts that moves from an ontic formulation to an increasingly explanatory one, we conclude by outlining some insights for structural realism. (shrink)
Heyes suggests that selective social learning comes in two varieties. One is common, domain general, and associative. The other is rare, domain specific, and metacognitive. We argue that this binary distinction cannot quite do the work she assigns it and sketch a framework in which additional strategies for selective social learning might be accommodated.
Unreasonable expectations about the nature and character of scientific knowledge support the widespread political assumption that predictive scientific assessments are a necessary precursor to environmental decision making. All too often, the practical outcome of this assumption is that scientific uncertainty becomes a ready-made dodge for what is in reality just a difficult political decision. Interdisciplinary assessments necessary to address complex environmental policy issues invariably result in findings that are inherently contestable, especially when applied in the unrestrained realm of partisan politics. (...) In this article, the authors argue that predictive scientific assessments are inherently limited in the extent to which they can guide policy development and that rigorous scientific assessments can be much more valuable in the role of ex post policy evaluation than they can in the context of ex ante policy formulation. (shrink)
The Jewish Philosophy Reader is the first comprehensive anthology of classic writings on Jewish philosophy from the Bible to postmodernism. The Reader is clearly divided into four separate parts: Foundations and First Principles, Medieval and Renaissance Jewish Philosophy, Modern Jewish Thought, and Contemporary Jewish Philosophy. Each part is clearly introduced by the editors. The readings featured are representative writings of each era listed above and are from the following major thinkers: Abrabanel, Baeck, Bergman, Borowitz, Buber, Cohen, Crescas, Fackenheim, Geiger, Gersonides, (...) Goodman, Graetz, Halevi, Hartman, Heschel, Hess, Hirsch, Ibn Ezra, Ibn Gabirol, Ibn Paquda, Kellner, Kook, Krochmal, Leibowitz, Levinas, Maimonides, Maybaum, Mendelssohn, Novak, Philo, Plaskow, Rosenzweig, Saadia, Scholem, Seeskin, Soloveitchik, Spinoza, Strauss, Wolf, Zunz. (shrink)
Première rencontre avec DanielCharles dans une 104 jaune en route vers les Treilles, le vaste domaine de la fondation Schlumberger qui égrène ses pins, ses oliviers et ses chênes rouvres sur trois collines du Haut-Var et où Jacqueline Ollier, directrice du centre Interspace, organisait un colloque sur le silence en juin 1984. J’y venais avec une image rythmique d’Éloges de Saint-John Perse : « – ô spondée du silence étiré sur ses longues! » et une métaphore croisée (...) d’Anabase : « je sais la... (shrink)
Background and PurposeThe decision to perform decompressive craniectomy for patients with malignant MCA syndrome can be ethically complex. We investigated factors that clinicians consider in this decision-making process.MethodsA survey including clinical vignettes and attitudes questions surrounding the use of hemicraniectomy in malignant MCA syndrome was distributed to 203 neurosurgeons, neurologists, staff and residents, and nurses and allied health members specializing in the care of neurological patients. These were practicing health care providers situated in an urban setting in Canada where access (...) to health care is covered by national policy and is a human right.ResultsEighty-eight participants responded to survey. All participants unanimously supported the procedure for young and healthy patients. Advanced age, the presence of aphasia, comorbid medical conditions, and poor baseline functional status were dominant factors associated with increasing reluctance to offer surgical decompression. Patients’ previously expressed wishes were also an important consideration. Eighty-six percent of respondents agreed that withholding surgery is ethically justified if the outcome is perceived as futile.ConclusionsHealth care providers use similar factors to determine if aggressive management is justified given anticipated burden on patient quality of life and extended impact on society. This convergence can be harnessed beneficially for the transparent communication of medical options in the ethically complex setting of decompressive hemicraniectomy post-stroke. (shrink)
This book offers both the theoretical background behind the minority effect, teachers' personal experiences as they experienced being a minority, and their analyses and insights for teaching diverse learners. This book uses real-life experiences of diverse people to illustrate that, if not understood and addressed, situational minorities at school or work are unlikely to perform at their highest potentials.