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What Money Can’T Buy: The Moral Limits Of Markets


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You should volunteer for scientific testing. I am sure that scientists would love to discover someone with moral values not influenced by genetic wiring or social conditioning. :)

 

I really recommend that you read Haidt's The Righteous Mind.

 

George

:)

I'm not saying I'm not influenced by social and evolutionary conditioning - quite the opposite.

I'm just saying, society should try and step away from its gut feels.

 

I'll read Haidt if you read David Eagleman's Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain - it's a deal OK? :)

But I have to admit Haidt did not endear himself to me taking sponsorship money from the Templeton Foundation.

It's always a hard call for a scientist to do that.

 

rom

Edited by romansh
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I'll read Haidt if you read David Eagleman's Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain - it's a deal OK? :)

But I have to admit Haidt did not endear himself to me taking sponsorship money from the Templeton Foundation.

It's always a hard call for a scientist to do that.

 

Since Haidt is a Jewish atheist, you shouldn't be too concerned about any influence of Templeton. I will check into Secret Lives of the Brain.

 

George

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I looked at

I'll read Haidt if you read David Eagleman's Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain - it's a deal OK? :)

 

Okay, I checked Amazon. It seems that Eagleman's book might overlap Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis and Gazzzaniga's Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique. I will put it in the queue.

 

George

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Sandel did not condemn or suggest condemnation of prostitutes or 'turning them in.' If anything, he is critical the economic conditions that coerce a person to engage in that activity.

George

Just curious, was Sandel critical of the economic conditions that coerce me to go to work every week?

 

When we remove the moral judgement regarding prostitution then we can't help but see commercial sexuality in a more profane light.

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I would advocate a more pragmatic approach rather than emotional moral response.

At end of the day, my sense of morality is purely intuitive.

I would hate rely on societal or evolutionary imprinting for my decisions.

I'm just saying, society should try and step away from its gut feels.

You prefer a pragmatic morality rather than a emotional morality?

You don't want to be controlled by evolutionary imprinting so you will rely on intuition (not emotion), which is what evolution gave you to make these kind of choices? Yes, and evolution gave you empathy.

Society should avoid acting on it's gut intuition but you will?

 

Is this a long way to say "I gotta be me"?

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I would advocate a more pragmatic approach rather than emotional moral response. [...] I would hate rely on societal or evolutionary imprinting for my decisions.

 

I assume when you say "pragmatic approach" you mean reason instead of intuition. According to Haidt, we use reason in moral decisions mostly to rationalize our moral judgements, not to determine them. There is a section of his book titled "Intuitions Come First, Reasoning Second."

 

I think Hauser's trolley car experiments support this (in Moral Minds). His subjects make moral choices (as to whom and how many are to die in hypothetical situations) then are asked to explain their choice. Most give reasons that don't logically hold when applied in other situations.

 

Haidt says about psychopaths, "The ability to reason combined with a lack of moral emotions is dangerous." It would be irrational for me not to steal $10 million dollars from a large bank if my chance of getting away with it would be high. What stops me? Moral intuition. Slavery could be rationalized, ethnic cleansing, etc., etc. There are many instances when lying is the rational thing to do. Should we lie when it serves our best interest?

 

George

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I assume when you say "pragmatic approach" you mean reason instead of intuition. According to Haidt, we use reason in moral decisions mostly to rationalize our moral judgements, not to determine them. There is a section of his book titled "Intuitions Come First, Reasoning Second."

George

I agree wholeheartedly here, I find myself back filling all the time. It's what I have been saying so far. We both are coming to opposite conclusions as we speak and we are back filling our intuition with reason.

But does Haidt suggest reason can't overcome intuition?

If so what is his evidence?

Edited by romansh
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But does Haidt suggest reason can't overcome intuition?

If so what is his evidence?

 

He is a research professor who has who has written several books. I cannot cite all his evidence or even do it justice in a brief summary here.

 

We are social animals (actually eusocial according to E.O. Wilson). As such, we should expect there to be innate behavioral impulses. If our development as a species depended on each generation reasoning out the basic moral values we would not have survived as a social species.

 

The fact that certain values are universal (like the incest taboo) is strong evidence in itself. Hormone-saturated teenagers don't sit down and think through the genetic consequences of sex with their sibling (most people in history weren't even aware of them). Most people just have no attraction to their siblings. This is innate moral values.

 

If you have ever felt an emotional reaction (elevation, awe, disgust, vengeance, shame, guilt, etc.) about some behavior? It would be your innate moral intuitions kicking in, not reason. Our moral intuitions are linked with emotions.

 

George

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George

The incest taboo is definitely a mixture of social and evolutionary imprinting.

Kitbutzes struggle to survive because even unrelated children growing up together have difficulty marrying. Steven Pinker (How The Mind Works)

 

Happened to be reading this article last night. I thought it relevant to yhe current topic.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21428655.700-why-gay-marriage-divides-the-world.html

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It is relevant but my heart belongs to haidt. The author of that article in New Scientist should have credited Haidt. Disgust/purity. Liberal emphasis on fairness. You can find Haidt giving lectures on that on the web.

 

Here's a link where we discussed some of that. It is hard to feel that if they only understood my value system they would agree with me. There is the problem that we prioritize the same values differently.

 

I am sure, long ago, I have heard people say that [other race] smelled bad.

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I am sure, long ago, I have heard people say that [other race] smelled bad.

 

I grew up in the segregated south and could tell many stories to illustrate this. I have overcome it, but must confess that remnants remain. As an example, I still react to inter-racial kissing. I know better, but cannot stop my intuitive reaction.

 

Martha Nussbaum has written a book about disgust (which is on my Amazon wish list), From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law. I read a review and heard an interview with her. She discusses 'disgust' in relation to homosexuality and racism.

 

George

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I grew up in the segregated south and could tell many stories to illustrate this. I have overcome it, but must confess that remnants remain. As an example, I still react to inter-racial kissing. I know better, but cannot stop my intuitive reaction.

George

 

George,

I think that is not at all uncommon. I grew up in the segregated south also and have noted the same experience but i would personally not call that an intuitive reaction, I would call it a conditioned response.

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Happened to be reading this article last night. I thought it relevant to yhe current topic.

http://www.newscient...-the-world.html

 

I think I have solved the whole homophobic issue. From the article Romansh quoted - "This year, Inbar's team found that exposure to disgusting smells can amplify negative attitudes toward gay men in both liberals and conservatives".

 

That's it - We just need to get gay people to smell nicer! :)

 

Actually, most gay men I have met seem to be better groomed and smell nicer than me already. Oh well, back to the drawing board. :rolleyes:

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George,

I think that is not at all uncommon. I grew up in the segregated south also and have noted the same experience but i would personally not call that an intuitive reaction, I would call it a conditioned response.

 

Actually, I think it is both - intuitive based on conditioning which is congruent with our tribal instinct.

 

George

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I wonder if you can have intuition without conditioning? What would you reference your intuition against otherwise?

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I wonder if you can have intuition without conditioning? What would you reference your intuition against otherwise?

 

As a general rule, I think both are present. But, I think we can in some instances. The incest taboo is one example, at least with respect to siblings. We don't need to teach teenagers to keep their hands off their sister or brother. We just don't find them sexually attractive.

 

However, I think most of our innate intuitions are mediated and elaborated by culture. Even in the case of the incest taboo, cultures define differently who is acceptable for marriage. Some allow (actually prefer) first cousins, others prohibit it.

 

George

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I'm not convinced that incest between siblings as a taboo, is actually intuitive. I think it is more likely conditioned into us and because there are other options, it usually doesn't enter into the equation. If there wasn't others around in a community then there may well be a need to teach teenagers to keep their hands off their siblings, if you didn't want that type of behaviour.

 

Further to my point about intuition being affected by conditioning, I have seen many wildlife videos where newborn animals don't even try to flee from predators. There is simply no intuition there that their life is in jeopardy. However of course, that 'intuition' is developed later and most likely from observing others of their type fleeing in the face of danger.

 

Really, what exactly is intuition? It is an understanding without conscious reasoning. But I drive my car without conscious reasoning - yet it is clearly a conditioning that gave me the ability to drive the car and recognise the dangers associated with same.

 

I can't think of anything that I would clearly call an intuitive response, that can't be explained by conditioning.

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I'm not convinced that incest between siblings as a taboo, is actually intuitive.

 

Unrelated children raised together tend to avoid sexual relations when they mature. As I recall, there was no instance of children raised communally in Israeli Kibbutzes who later married. If there were, it was an exception. The conclusion is that being raised together like siblings triggers the incest taboo.

 

George

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I suppose that is one conclusion, George, but perhaps it's more the case of simply not finding sexual attraction in a person you actually know the 'cons' about. Many of us don't fall in love with people we know extensive history about, including childhood behaviours and family connections.

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I looked back to see what Haidt had to say about disgust in terms of evolution in The Happiness Hypothesis. Below are some excerpts:

 

“Disgust was originally shaped by natural selection as a guardian of the mouth.” (It helped prevent us from eating really nasty stuff – i.e. nasty for humans.)

 

“We’re also disgusted by most of the body products of other people, particularly excrement, mucus and blood, which may transmit diseases among people.”

 

“But disgust doesn’t guard just the mouth: its elicitors expanded during biological and cultural evolution so that now it guards the body more generally. Disgust plays a role in sexuality analogous to its role in food selection by guiding people to the narrow class of culturally acceptable sexual partners and sexual acts.”

 

“Disgust also gives us a queasy feeling when see people skin lesions, deformities, amputations, extreme obesity or thinness [. . .] disgust makes us careful about contact.”

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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