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Moral Psychology.


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#1 DarthMarley

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 10:04 AM

Have any of you been exposed to the works of Jonathan Haidt?
As a psychologist studying moral reasoning in humans, he was involved in the website:
http://www.yourmorals.org/

The Bright Future of Post-Partisan Social Psychology is a 2011 presentation of his recreated here:


Here is a TED Talk on The Real Difference between Liberals and Conservatives:


I recommend his The Happiness Hypothesis and I am currently reading The Righteous Mind.
"It is not who is right, but what is right that is of importance."

#2 Rhea

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:40 PM

Fascinating.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#3 QueenTiye

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 01:59 PM

I watched the TED talk, not the other one. yet.  But I did find it fascinating as well, and very much agree with the Yin-Yang approach he articulates.  Interesting too as it says a lot about the Islamic world's embrace of Islamist groups - the yearning for stability far outweighing the urge for liberal articulation of rights.  Also took the survey - so figured I'd share my results (they don't make that easy to do):

Attached File  QT's Morals.jpg   89.88K   7 downloads

QT

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#4 sierraleone

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 08:40 PM

Thank you for that. It took me a couple days to get around to a period when I had enough time to actually watch these but I am glad I did :)
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#5 DarthMarley

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 03:50 AM

View PostQueenTiye, on 08 August 2012 - 01:59 PM, said:

I watched the TED talk, not the other one. yet.  But I did find it fascinating as well, and very much agree with the Yin-Yang approach he articulates.  Interesting too as it says a lot about the Islamic world's embrace of Islamist groups - the yearning for stability far outweighing the urge for liberal articulation of rights.  Also took the survey - so figured I'd share my results (they don't make that easy to do):

Attachment QT's Morals.jpg

QT

Do you mean the Muslim world's in-group loyalty?
Or perhaps the aversion to "zindiq" heresies?
Plenty to complain about with any group label on that score.
But realizing why someone wants to adhere to an old religious precept is important to foster tolerance, whether toward a religion in the majority across the globe, or the majority religion in the U.S.

It has been years since I took that survey, and i am not sure if I can look it up with an email, but probably could.
Were you surprised at your "purity" score?
"It is not who is right, but what is right that is of importance."

#6 QueenTiye

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:52 AM

View PostDarthMarley, on 30 August 2012 - 03:50 AM, said:


Do you mean the Muslim world's in-group loyalty?
Or perhaps the aversion to "zindiq" heresies?

No - I mean their inability to fully embrace certain modernisms, even in face of the oppressiveness of some practices, generally - not any one particular thing.

Quote

But realizing why someone wants to adhere to an old religious precept is important to foster tolerance, whether toward a religion in the majority across the globe, or the majority religion in the U.S.

Well, I don't know that tolerance is what it should foster - if by tolerance it means allowing for ignorance to rule the day.  I think rather, it means that more work is needed to be understanding of the religion, and to work through a religious understanding to bring about change. In other words, speaking the language is important - sometimes we speak past each other and can't understand one another.

Quote

It has been years since I took that survey, and i am not sure if I can look it up with an email, but probably could.
Were you surprised at your "purity" score?

Not by my score, no, but by how out of step my score was with that of others.  I think the tipping point and surprise for me were the questions about beauty - I was actually surprised that I had such strong opinions on the subject, but I did, and I suspect it was that aspect that pushed my scores so far out of range of others.

QT

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#7 DarthMarley

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 10:57 AM

From the "psychology" end of it, tolerance means accepting that everyone holds some outrageously wrong, or ignorant, beliefs.
It doesn't mean anyone should let ignorance rule, but it means people hold irrational beliefs. And there is often a cultural grounding for those beliefs.

Looking at a history of wrong beliefs, easier in science than matters of faith, we see how tenacious such beliefs can be.
"It is not who is right, but what is right that is of importance."

#8 QueenTiye

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 12:51 PM

Yeah.  But it is easier to move the dial if you're speaking the same language in the first place. Sometimes we position values discussions in terms that are outside the values structure of our listeners - and so we aren't in any way persuasive.  I think that's some of what I got from the TED talk.

QT

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#9 SparkyCola

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 02:05 PM

Great talk from TED. Thanks for posting this :)

Just did my 'moral foundations' survey too. My results are a little different from QT's :lol:

Attached File  surveyresults_graph_libcon.php.png   4.73K   0 downloads

That quiz was a little difficult I thought. It kind of depends what example you happen think of to match the question.

Bizarre elements:

"It's better to do good than to do bad"  -   ??? Really? Who would disagree with that statement? Or am I missing something obvious? :eh:

Questions about whether something is "disgusting" ... uh. Hm. Picking your nose is disgusting - but not 'immoral'. Just disgusting.

Questions about whether something is immoral if it is "unnatural" ? Like what? :eh: Flying an aeroplane? Don't really get that one. Is wearing clothes natural, or unnatural?

The hardest question for me was: "If your commanding officer told you to do something you disagreed with, would you do it anyway out of a sense of duty?"

Dude. If my superior told me to kill a child in cold blood for no reason - no, I wouldn't do it out of a sense of "duty" to my superior. My sense of duty to my conscience would override that. HOWEVER - if they told me to do something I disagreed with because I thought it was stupid - I would follow their orders. I may not be army, but if my boss asks me to do something I think is stupid, I question it, but I do it - because they are my boss. Of course if they ask me to do stupid things a LOT then I will probably change job.

So I put "slightly agree"  - but really that's way too ambiguous a question.

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#10 Cait

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 02:30 PM

I was actually very surprised by my results to this test.

Attached Files


Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#11 SparkyCola

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 02:43 PM

^ It is pretty interesting isn't it? I was a little surprised that mine was so relatively extreme - when I'm usually such a Jane-average "moderate" type - on the other hand I can't deny that the result reflects my views to some extent. Though I didn't really notice the "purity" questions that I apparently feel strongly about. I can only recall the one about whether chastity is moral.

Cait-  what surprised you about your results, and do you think they are accurate (imagining that you were to score yourself on that graph directly for instance) ?

Sparky

Edited by SparkyCola, 30 August 2012 - 02:46 PM.

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#12 Cait

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 02:55 PM

I was surprised that it did reflect where I think I am on the graphs.  In some things, I'm really liberal, yet in others I'm more conservative leaning [same in my politics].  But I'm surprised a test can illustrate that as well as it did.  I don't see myself as an extremist on many issues at all, least of all how I judge things morally.  So, the graph was a pleasant surprise.

I have to say, I found some of the questions odd, but tired to answer them as best I could.  The chastity question bothered me. I do think it is a virtue, but not the way I think most do.  I think it has to be a virtue because it isn't a bad thing.  I'm not sure that translates well with most POV's on chastity.  Most believe it is a virtue because of the sexual component.  I just believe it is a virtue because being chaste isn't morally a bad thing, but being unchaste isn't morally bankrupt either.  Sex has nothing to do with my thoughts on it.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#13 DarthMarley

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 03:07 PM

A little drift, not on morals, but belief:
Schermer, author of The Believing Brain.
Criminally long lecture.


"It is not who is right, but what is right that is of importance."

#14 SparkyCola

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 03:44 PM

One thing that struck me as surprising in the first TED talk - was that American Conservatives (and this was less so, or not true in other countries) consider 'fairness/reciprocity' the least important principle of the five. I find that amazing. Fairness being less important than authority, purity and group loyalty?? :eh:

I mean, really? Purity higher than fairness?? I find that baffling - but then I suppose I would do, since I scored 0.3 on purity and 4.2 in fairness. As a child I was semi-obsessive about fairness so that score didn't surprise me. QT - any thoughts that might help enlighten me to this moral viewpoint? I'm really intrigued as to how purity could be considered more important than fairness as a basis for morality.

One of the other surveys on that site was a little frustrating - as the underlying assumption was that you cannot have stability and innovation co-existing. This is problematic for me since I believe the exact opposite. You can't have innovation, freedom of expression and art and thought ... without a firm, solid foundation to work from. The latter sits on top of the former. Freedom of expression and more prevalent in all the countries of the world which are the most stable. In the real world it isn't a matter of dull stable conformity vs. anarchic, but artistic individualism. It really doesn't work that way at all. Chaos is oppressive, not liberating.

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#15 DarthMarley

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 03:50 PM

One possible theory is that some people are genetically predisposed towards "purity" in the sense that aversions to icky, ugly, or impure things evolved as a survival mechanism.
Reciprocity is an innate characteristic to a certain degree.
But in games that reward reciprocity, there seems to be a need for a punishment mechanism against "free riders."
"It is not who is right, but what is right that is of importance."

#16 QueenTiye

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 05:50 PM

Well, life isn't always fair.

I remember going to an art exhibit years ago. My then-husband was exhibiting along with others in a curated show. It was, we hoped a first break. But the predominant art surrounding his was grotesque. Macabre. Heads torn of of dolls, painted toilet seats, condoms glued on canvass. Ok this is early nineties, end of the AIDS epidemic in the US, so I understood the art. But I personally found it offensive and counterproductive. I think art should inspire and be beautiful, not repulse and shock. And I didn't think it was fair that such ugliness got a platform when work like my then-spouse's was so frequently overlooked. So at conflict there were values of free speech, fairness, purity. And my personal moral code said that free speech did not therefore mean that anyone should get a favored platform to be disgusting, nor did I think it fair that grotesqueness should muscle its way in to what ought to have been places reserved for beauty.

Moreover, I think the guy who does the "Bodies" display should be in jail for desecration. His "art" seems inherently degenerate and likely to pull down the human spirit and our sense of the sacredness of human life - something that is potentially more destructive than a lot of other things. To me, its a little scary to think about the devaluation of humanity.

I guess the idea that purity laws matter more is that the underlying value of humanity is respected in these things - a sense of the sacred informs an entire moral code. For a less subjective example, the idea of houses of worship being safe havens from war and violence covers a lot of ground in terms of respect, compassion, decency, humility, etc. Without that code of decency we seem rudderless. My personal belief is that we should respect all houses of worship not just our own religion's. And in so doing, we expand respect for all of humanity.

QT

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#17 SparkyCola

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 06:41 PM

Quote

Well, life isn't always fair.

I know :eh: Not sure where that fits in to this discussion though. Life is practically never "pure".

Quote

But I personally found it offensive and counterproductive. I think art should inspire and be beautiful, not repulse and shock.

I tend to agree, though I suppose I would say that art can do what it wants - but I personally am only going to like the stuff which I find beautiful, interesting and inspiring. There are plenty of things in the world I don't enjoy but can tolerate the existence of. I don't like religion, for one thing...

Quote

Moreover, I think the guy who does the "Bodies" display should be in jail for desecration.

Haven't seen this Bodies display of which you speak. But, I mean, are you really serious? :o In jail? You have that little respect for freedom? Someone who has done nothing wrong but offend your sensibilities of subjective art taste? Consider me officially, 100% bewildered by this.

Quote

To me, its a little scary to think about the devaluation of humanity.

Why is that? I'm not quite sure what you mean here. I don't think art (in any form) that makes us uncomfortable is 'dangerous' or scary. I think we ought to be confident enough in our own views, in our own feelings about the world that we can look at and see things which challenge us and not be afraid to look right at it without thinking it's going to change who we are or what our morality is. In fact I think it's very necessary to challenge ourselves, our views and beliefs, to make sure we are examining things critically and not accepting things which aren't right or true.

Quote

My personal belief is that we should respect all houses of worship not just our own religion's. And in so doing, we expand respect for all of humanity.

Assuming you're serious about putting that guy in jail, it's hard for me to see how this isn't a massive, massive contradiction (in terms of what it is and isn't ok to 'tolerate').

You want people to tolerate the things you like, but you want to outlaw and imprison anyone who does things that you dislike? Forgive me but it sounds to me like if you were in charge of a country, you'd be running a fascist dictatorship. Perhaps you could clarify...

You want people to respect different religious points of view, but not different artistic points of view? :eh:

Part of the problem I think is that 'purity' in the sense of morality is very unclear to me - what EXACTLY does it mean. It feels like we're talking about totally arbitrary general opinions about when people should have sex and what food to eat - I'm not sure I get the underlying concept.

When it comes to beauty (which I think is slightly different) - I think far from being a reliable indicator of morality, more often than not it misleads and obscures. Beautiful people tend to get what they want - but that's not moral, and it isn't fair. It's just one of those things. Beauty in things like landscape - is highly desirable. But has zip up to do with morality.

Sparky

Edited by SparkyCola, 01 September 2012 - 06:41 PM.

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#18 QueenTiye

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 08:58 PM

Well - you wanted some sense of what it means (to me) to hold the "purity " side of things up so high.  I'm probably overstating the case, but the sentiment is real.

Re "freedom" - yeah, I don't think that freedom is always the end all and be all of anything.  Too much freedom is destructive - anarchy is not a goal, in my opinion, but anarchy is the rule of freedom over all other considerations.  Clearly, if we aren't anarchists, we think there is some limit to our freedom.  I think desecration is one of the things that we aren't free to do (or shouldn't be).

Regarding artistic points of view - :)  I certainly am not in charge of that, and thank goodness.  And, I can go completely the other way with the Bodies exhibit, which is why I think I've overstated in order to make the example.  But since you're not familiar - the "Bodies" exhibit involves cadavers.  It's just one of those things where you ask yourself, where do we draw the line?  Digging up graves without a danged good reason is a crime.  I think messing with dead bodies without a danged good reason should also be a crime.  I'm not clear that the Bodies exhibit qualifies.  The exact same impulse can be applied in the reverse (and is the argument the exhibitors make) that the process treats the bodies with respect through preservation, and the exhibit allows us to engage the human form with a renewed sense of wonder.  I can see that. :) I am really (as I said) just trying to make a point about what these things mean to me, and why.

And finally, yeah, I'd probably be a dictator if left to my own devices.  Which is why I seldom do that.  I pretty much always work off of a consultative process, because among other things - I believe that it takes lots of opinions together to arrive at the right course of action, the right balance, etc.  I think the fact that we have differing priorities is a GOOD thing - it would be a BAD thing for my voice to get drowned out, but it would also be a bad thing for my voice to dominate the conversation... which brings us back on target - the two-party system getting ossified between two different kinds of approaches and with no real mechanism to force them to work together - is fundamentally unhealthy.  (OF course, that's all in my opinion.)

QT

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#19 Rhea

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 10:56 PM

My results:
Posted Image

It reflects me pretty clearly, when I look at it. I have very specific ideas about causing harm to others, fairness (in the sense of justice), and loyalty. My ideas about authority and purity (and purity is a strange word anyway) are more situational, if that makes any sense. But I looked at the overall strength of the bars, not whether they were green, red or blue. Could care less.

Edited by Rhea, 01 September 2012 - 11:04 PM.

The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#20 SparkyCola

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 04:32 AM

Thanks QT :)

I agree with the last paragraph in particular. I am a fan of coalition governments, and I think they tend to act as a stabilising force that more clearly represents the country.

I also agree that freedom isn't everything - that we need agreements that we can all adhere to, in the form of a set of laws. On the other hand I think putting someone in jail and giving them a criminal record could ruin a person's life, and that's not something to be done arbitrarily. There has to be a certain amount of respect for the rights of individuals. I agree that anarchy is possibly one of the craziest ideas ever - but obviously oppression, communism etc. need to be avoided as well.

I think the ideal is to have a firm, stable foundation in the form of laws and cultural morality, and then within that framework allow people to try new things, innovate, express themselves and be free to live their lives as individuals. So long as they are not messing with the stable foundations, anything else will have to be self-regulating - the way that art is, because most people want to be inspired by art not repulsed by it.

Sparky
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