Part II. There’s More to Morality than Harm and Fairness Chapt 6. Taste Buds of the Righteous Mind • Morality is rich and complex, multifaceted, internally contradictory. • “Pluralists such as Shweder rise to the challenge, offering theories that can explain moral diversity within and across cultures”. • Others “reduce morality to a single principle, usually some variant of welfare maximization or fairness, rights, respect for individuals”. • Utilitarian Grill – serves only sweeteners (welfare) • Deontological Diner – serves only salts (rights) • Haidt & Shweder: “moral monism – the attempt to ground all of morality on a single principle – leads to societies that are unsatisfying to most people and at high risk of becoming inhumane because they ignore so many other principles”.
Chapt 6. Taste Buds of the Righteous Mind “The righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors. In this analogy, morality is like cuisine: it’s a cultural construction, influenced by accidents of environment and history, but it’s not so flexible that anything goes … Cuisines vary, but they all must please tongues equipped with the same five taste receptors. Moral matrices vary, but they all must please righteous minds equipped with the same six social receptors”. Hume (according to Haidt): “Philosophers who tried to reason their way to moral truth without looking at human nature were no better than theologians who thought they could find moral truth revealed in sacred texts”. “In the decade after Hume’s death the rationalists claimed victory over religion and took the moral sciences off on a 200-year tangent”.
Chapt 6. Taste Buds of the Righteous Mind Systemizers versus Empathizers Empathizing: drive to identify another person’s emotions and thoughts, and to respond to these with the appropriate emotion”. Systemizing: drive to analyze the variables in a system, to derive the underlying rules that govern the behavior of the system”. Autism: individual high on systemizing, low on empathizing. Bentham and Kant: high on systemizing, low on empathizing.
Chapt 6. Taste Buds of the Righteous Mind Jeremy Bentham’s principle of utility:approves or disapproves an action depending on whether it augments or diminishes the individual's happiness. When multiple individuals are affected, law should maximize the utility of the community (= Σof all the individual utilities). Consequentialist: moral worth of act judged by its consequences. Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative:Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. ( Golden Rule) Deontological ethics: position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to moral rules.Sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule"-based ethics. Bentham and Kant both rationalists. Kohlberg too a rationalist and his theory of moral development is Kantian. Utilitarianism.
Chapt 6. Taste Buds of the Righteous Mind S. Baron-Cohen
Chapt 6. Taste Buds of the Righteous Mind • Moral Foundations Theory: an account of how five six innately-based psychological systems form the foundation of an “intuitive ethics,” and how each cultureconstructs its own sets of virtues on top of these foundations. • Modular: mechanisms that are switched on by patterns that were important for survival in a particular ecological niche (in the EEA), and when they detect that pattern, they send out a signal that changes the animal’s behavior in a way that is (usually) adaptive (e.g., snake detectors, face detectors). • Moral receptors draw person’s attention to certain kinds of events (such as cruelty or disrespect), and trigger instant, intuitive reactions, perhaps even specific emotions (such as sympathy or anger). • Role of cultural learning: Culture can modify, shrink or expand the triggers. Distinguish between original and current triggers.
The Five Moral Foundations 1. Care/harm: Related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. Underlies compassion, empathy, kindness, nurturance. 2. Fairness/cheating: Related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. Generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. 3. Loyalty/betrayal: Related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. Underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. “One for all, and all for one!" 4. Authority/subversion: Shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. Underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority, respect for traditions and the fulfillment of role-based duties. 5. Sanctity/degradation: Shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. Underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way, idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants.