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PH100 Lecture Notes

• haidt's claim the reasoning process is more like

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Unformatted text preview: • Haidt's claim : the reasoning process is more like a lawyer defending a client than a judge or scientist seeking truth ◦ Evidence in support of Haidt's claim: ▪ Relatedness motives : we are all motivated to agree with our friends and allies. • Because of this, it means that we can be directly affected by their judgments • “The mere fact that your friend expresses a moral judgment against X is often sufficient to cause in you a critical attitude towards X” (821) ▪ Coherence motives: We have certain views of ourselves and the world • we are motivated to accept beliefs that cohere with these views and we are motivated to reject beliefs that are incongruous with them. • Reasoning is used to defend our prior moral commitments ▪ Mechanisms of bias: “...[R]elatedness and coherence motivations make people act like lawyers” (821) • people do not understand what evidence is • when asked to provide evidence in support of their views, they fail to do so • people tend to search for evidence that supports only their position (“my-side bias”) Conclusions: • The rationalist model is limited. It works under very limited circumstances: it requires adequate time and processing capacity; it works only for cases in which no relatedness or coherence motivations are triggered. • In real judgment situations (when agents are arguing or gossiping), relatedness motives will be at work. • When important moral topics are under discussion (e.g., euthanasia, abortion), coherence motives will also be at work. • In these more realistic circumstances, reasoning acts like a lawyer. 3. The Post Hoc Problem: “The illusion of objective reasoning” • Haidt's claim: reasoning constructs justifications of judgments that were caused by intuitions ◦ Evidence in support of Haidt's claim ▪ A. Post hoc reasoning in non-moral cases: • electric shock with a placebo, split-brain patients, hypnosis, subliminal presentations • When agents are asked to explain their behavior they: (I) cite factors that could not have influenced their behavior (ii) fail to recognize factors that did matter (iii) search for “a priori causal” theories to make sense and justify their behavior ▪ B. Post hoc reasoning in moral cases • “The idea that people generate causal explanations out of a priori causal theories is easily extended into the moral domain” (822) • According to the SI model, moral judgments are typically the result of automatic, unconscious evaluations. ◦ Question: How do they go about providing justifications? (822) ◦ Answer: There is a pool of culturally supplied norms (e.g., “abortion is bad”) ▪ These norms can be used to evaluate and criticize the behavior of others ▪ But consideration of these norms aren't the causes of moral judgments Illusions of moral judgments: 1. Wag-the-dog illusion: “We believe that our own moral judgments (the dog) is driven by our own moral reasoning (the tail).” (823) • Supported by findings that show that moral reasoning takes place post hoc...
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