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What is morality

Related to harm, helping, pain, pleasure Related to notions of reward and punishment Related to certain emotions e.g. shame, guilt, anger and gratitude Moral violation may not always fit the mould No need for physical contact Immoral vs. illegal e.g. being present while somebody else commits a crime not illegal but it was immoral Not all moral violations involve victims e.g. prostitution Point of pride = point of disgust for other Philosophical approaches Adam Smith In treating of the principles of morals there are two questions to be considered o First, wherein does virtue consist? Or what is the tone of temper, and tenour of conduct which constitutes the excellent and praiseworthy character, the character which is the natural object of esteem, honour and approbation? philosophical, normative o Secondly, by what power or faculty in the mind is it, that this character, whatever it be, is recommended to us? How and by what means does it come to pass, that the mind prefers one tenour of conduct to another, denominates the one right and the other wrong; considers the one as the object of approbation, honour and reward, and the other of blame, censure and punishment? what is going on in our minds to determine what is right and wrong

2 general approaches Consequentialism e.g. Jeremy Bentum consequences matter o Utility to measure pleasure and pain (utilitarian) o E.g. should torture be legal? Should gay marriages be prohibited by law o No simple principle. Need to ask if the world will be better or worse o Do the benefits ever sufficient such that they override torture? o Torture - Ticking bomb scenario o View on rape : suffering of victim outweighs pleasure of rapist; hence it is wrong (flawed assumption) Deontological: moral constraints on actions i.e. rules that apply even if the action causes pleasure e.g. Emmanuel Kant o Categorical imperatives grounded solely on reason o E.g. Lying disrupts communications shouldnt do it regardless of consequences o It depends on type of deontological theory o Pure rationality o Violation of ones duty not to succumb to animalistic desires o Virtual ethics

Reasons vs. emotions o Trolley problem should you throw the switch to save 5 people but kill 1 person in the process? o Footbridge case (fat man case) o Ok to throw the switch; not ok to push the man suggest that we are not really consequentialist since the consequences are the same o Subtle philosophical principle: doctrine of double effect apply to just war i.e. what is permissible in a war? o Is it worth killing people if they are collateral damage? o People uses their gut to make moral judgment o Moral reasoning does not cause moral judgment; rather moral reasoning is usually a post hoc construction generated after a judgment has been reached

Case of disgust o Universal feeling evolved to motivate avoidance of parasites and poisons o People are disgusting because of their flesh o Disgust is used to elicit hatred o Women are more disgust sensitive than men o Conservatives are more disgust sensitive than liberals o High disgust sensitivity correlates with explicit negative attitudes toward homosexuals o Moral dumbfounding people struggle to find an explanation when there isnt a reason for their repugnance emotions, not reasons, drive moral judgment Cute and sexy o Appearance can affect judgments o Seeing a persons body makes the observer more caring but tends to deny them moral agency as naked bodies inspire lust and animalistic tendencies o When aroused, the moral psychology of the person changes drastically Return to the trolley problem o Switch case activated conscious deliberating reasoning parts of the brain (utilitarian reasoning) o Fat man case lit up emotion parts of the brain besides the reasoning parts of the brain o Controlled rational processes + automatic involuntary gut feelings The big questions o Reasoning also affects moral judgments o Where do morals come from? Evolution? Personal experience? Culture? Personal choice? o Can scientific inquiry and psychology inquiry can help us with morality? o Sam objective facts about the moral landscape; many popular moral views especially religion are simply mistaken

Jonathan emphasises on pluralism many moral frameworks especially religion deserve respect

five foundations of morality. The first one is harm/care. We're all mammals here, we all have a lot of neural and hormonal programming that makes us really bond with others, care for others, feel compassion for others, especially the weak and vulnerable. It gives us very strong feelings about those who cause harm. This moral foundation underlies about 70 percent of the moral statements I've heard here at TED. The second foundation is fairness/reciprocity. There's actually ambiguous evidence as to whether you find reciprocity in other animals, but the evidence for people could not be clearer. This Norman Rockwell painting is called "The Golden Rule," and we heard about this from Karen Armstrong, of course, as the foundation of so many religions. That second foundation underlies the other 30 percent of the moral statements I've heard here at TED. The third foundation is in-group/loyalty. You do find groups in the animal kingdom -you do find cooperative groups -- but these groups are always either very small or they're all siblings. It's only among humans that you find very large groups of people who are able to cooperate, join together into groups, but in this case, groups that are united to fight other groups. This probably comes from our long history of tribal living, of tribal psychology. And this tribal psychology is so deeply pleasurable that even when we don't have tribes, we go ahead and make them, because it's fun. (Laughter) Sports is to war as pornography is to sex. We get to exercise some ancient, ancient drives. The fourth foundation is authority/respect. Here you see submissive gestures from two members of very closely related species. But authority in humans is not so closely based on power and brutality, as it is in other primates. It's based on more voluntary deference, and even elements of love, at times. The fifth foundation is purity/sanctity. This painting is called "The Allegory Of Chastity," but purity's not just about suppressing female sexuality. It's about any kind of ideology, any kind of idea that tells you that you can attain virtue by controlling what you do with your body, by controlling what you put into your body. And while the political right may moralize sex much more, the political left is really doing a lot of it with food. Food is becoming extremely moralized nowadays, and a lot of it is ideas about purity, about what you're willing to touch, or put into your body.