The issues of climate change and environmental degradation elicit diverse responses. This paper explores how an understanding of human moral psychology might be used to motivate conservation efforts. Moral concerns for the environment can relate to issues of harm or impurity . Aversions to harm are linked to concern for current or future generations, non-human animals, and anthropomorphized aspects of the environment. Concerns for purity are linked to viewing the environment as imbued with sacred value and therefore worthy of being (...) protected at all costs. While both harm-based and purity-based framings of environmental issues can sometimes backfire, we argue that making these moral concerns salient can nevertheless bring about moral responses to environmental issues. In sum, scientists' emerging knowledge about the moral mind can be used to facilitate the sustainable conservation of the planet. (shrink)
In arguing for religion as a side effect of everyday cognition, Atran & Norenzayan (A&N) provide useful analyses of the strengths of the “naturalness-of-religion” position over others; however, experimental shortcomings limit the contributions of their empirical work. A relevant addendum involves considering research on children's orientation to teleological explanations of natural phenomena, which suggests that relatively rich cognitive proclivities might underlie religious thought.