Discussion Paper Week 5

Discussion Paper Week 5 - according to their own merits vs....

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Discussion for Week 5 by Ross Avilla (PSC 245) It was amazing to read article by Haidt (2001) this week, because I have been discussing morality, particularly universal morality, with my regular church group for the past few weeks. We mostly discussed how morality is built into society, often by those in power, for the explicit purpose of keeping things under control (sort of fulfilling Kohlberg’s second level of morality). In explanation of where this tendency came from, obvious evolutionary benefits came up; particularly how moral behavior is almost a necessary ingredient for any highly social species to survive. One thing we haven’t really touched on yet is how moral reasoning acts on an individual level and now I think I have some interesting topics to bring up on that very issue. Haidt’s metaphor of wagging the dog and wagging the tail of other dogs clarified so many moral conflicts that take place in the world, especially between political and religious groups. The moral justifications used to back up many arguments (e.g., people should be treated
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Unformatted text preview: according to their own merits vs. people should be treated universally well) seem to often be so abstract, one-sided and plainly nonsensical/trivial (e.g., “people” are formed at conception vs. “people” are formed sometime during the second trimester) that the idea that we somehow come up with these ideas out of the blue and then base our strong moral emotions from them is ridiculous. It does make much more sense that subtle social and biological cues (e.g., perceived disapproval from others, a gut feeling) makes one first feel and then justify why a behavior should or should not be performed. I found the disconnect between these basic emotions and reasoning ability in psychopaths the most fascinating, because it exemplified how a lack of initial moral affect can make people seemingly lose their humanity and, in essence, become monsters. When I go back to my church group later tonight, I’m definitely going to bring up this article and its many implications....
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course PSC 245 taught by Professor Joel during the Winter '07 term at UC Davis.

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