So here’s something fun. You can take a "moral sense" quiz, through a project at Harvard, by clicking here. It takes about 15 minutes, and you can also register for updates at the end. It’s testing your reactions to various moral scenarios, some of which might be familiar to our readers….
Below is Uriah Kriegel’s first official post for PEA Soup (cross-posted with Desert Landscapes, the University of Arizona philosophy blog). Uriah is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Arizona, and we’re happy to welcome him aboard.
One of the issues that loomed large in the moral phenomenology workshop at the beginning of the month was what bearing, if any, moral phenomenology – the study of the experiential aspect of moral life – may have on traditional questions in ethics.
I had to choose between two mutually exclusive courses of action, A and B. I judged that doing A was better, all things considered, than doing B, that I had more reason to do A than to do B, yet I did B. This is troubling. How might we make sense of it?
Olle Blomberg has compiled this fine bibliography on cognitive science and ethics. It’s very thorough, with many papers available online. It seems Olle can no longer keep this bibliography current all by himself, so please e-mail him with suggestions for additional entries.
In this article , Rebecca Saxe reviews three areas of experimental psychological research bearing on questions of moral psychology. The first are the various experiments, conducted by Marc Hauser and others, soliciting individuals’ responses to Foot’s trolley problem. The results are surprisingly consistent across the various genders, cultures, etc., lending apparent support for the existence of a universal moral instinct. Psychologists in this area have hypothesized that the universality of this moral instinct is akin to the universal facility for natural language. Saxe:
If (like me) you think that it’s more important to making the world a better place that people pay attention to the right things (rather than, say, that they hold the right beliefs), then you have to be struck by the differential in media attention to two stories over the past week. The first is the efforts to resuce seven Russian sailors trapped in a submarine in the Pacific Ocean. They were rescued this morning with the help of U.S. and British military resuce teams.
The other is the ongoing drought and widespread starvation in Niger. Niger frequently has difficulty feeding its population, but this year inadequate rains have placed 3.6 million people in danger of starvation, including large numbers of children.
The Russian sub story was the top story on CNN and other major media outlets for the past three days. Niger made front page appearances in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the LA Times late last week, along with stories on CNN, but quickly faded from view, being consigned to the more obscure ‘international’ pages of the newspapers