125 posts tagged with morality.
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The Evolution of Morality

The Evolution of Morality explains morality from a framework of kin selection, reciprocity, and learning. [more inside]
posted by jjray on Apr 6, 2010 - 14 comments

Can science and materialism solve moral problems?

Sam Harris's talk on morality at TED has sparked a debate on whether science can have anything to say about moral problems. Harris, a prominent author and outspoken atheist, makes the politically incorrect assertion that there are right and wrong answers to questions of morality (as opposed to the concept of moral relativism), and that the methods of science can be used to determine them. [more inside]
posted by knave on Mar 29, 2010 - 162 comments

The Neurology of Morality

Researchers at MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences have identified two "morality centers" of the brain. In two separate experiments, they have shown a correlation between a particular part of the brain and the ability to make moral jusgments related to intent to commit a crime. In one experiment, patients with brain damage in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain don't consider hypothetical perpetrators to be morally responsible for their actions. In another experiment (noted on NPR today) the researchers showed that they could switch off the moral judgment function by applying a magnetic field to the right temporoparietal junction (TPJ) of the brain. The TPJ has also been implicated in "out of body experiences", both in cases of brain damage and by artificially stimulating the area.
posted by darkstar on Mar 29, 2010 - 32 comments

Heads I win, tails you lose...

"Although the word “entitlement” fits, it’s been used so frequently as to have become inadequate to capture the preening self-regard, the obliviousness to the damage that high-flying finance has inflicted on the real economy, the learned blindness to vital considerations in the pay equation. Getting an education, or even hard work, does not guarantee outcomes. One of the basic precepts of finance is that of a risk-return tradeoff: high potential payoff investments come with greater downside. But how did that evolve into the current belief system among the incumbents, that Wall Street was a sure ride, a guaranteed “heads I win, tails you lose” bet?"
Yves Smith writes an essay on 'indefensible men.'
posted by ennui.bz on Mar 19, 2010 - 38 comments

Homeowners! You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Mortgages!

The Moral Dimensions of Ditching a Mortgage: University of Arizona law professor Brent T. White has written a provocative new paper (pdf) that urges homeowners with "underwater" mortgages" to walk away by strategically defaulting on their mortgage debts. [more inside]
posted by jonp72 on Nov 30, 2009 - 164 comments

...Their tastes may not be the same

On Thursday, the 12th of November, Karen Armstrong (previously & previously) unveiled her Charter for Compassion. The charter is the product of her Feb 2008 TED prize wish to “restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.” The project began with a “unique web-based decision making platform”, allowing “thousands of people from over 100 countries added their voice to the writing of the Charter.” These contributions were then given to the Council of Conscience for the construction of the final charter. Previous attempts at the promotion of a "global ethic" grounded in the Golden Rule have been largely, globally, ignored. Some people dislike the idea of blurring the differences between religions, some have problems with the Golden Rule itself. [more inside]
posted by ServSci on Nov 17, 2009 - 56 comments

The Color of Sin - Why the Good Guys Wear White

When the Chrysler car company released its new model Dodge Coronet in 1967, the theme of its ad campaign was the "White Hat Special," with some ads featuring the "Dodge Girl" in her signature white Stetson, saying that "Only the good guys could put together a deal like this." These ads didn't need any elaboration. Madison Avenue knew the potential buyers had all been raised on film and TV Westerns, and knew the symbolism of white hats. Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, the Lone Ranger — cinematic heroes wore white hats, and bad guys wore black. It was all very simple. The colors white and black have carried layers of moral meaning since long before American infatuation with cowboys and automobiles, and some scientists believe that those associations may be automatic and universal and ancient (abstract). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 10, 2009 - 42 comments

Tyler Cowen on why it's OK to pay for sex

Tyler Cowen on why it's OK to pay for sex [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 22, 2009 - 111 comments

a new politics of the common good

Markets and Morals -- "without quite realising it, without ever deciding to do so, we drifted from having a market economy to being a market society" -- is the first of the 2009 Reith Lectures delivered by Michael Sandel. (previously) cf. Yglesias on free markets... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 14, 2009 - 77 comments

Morality and context.

How wrong is it to use a kitten for personal sexual pleasure? Depends on whether you've washed your hands.
posted by limon on Apr 26, 2009 - 96 comments

Keepin' gay club nights safe for the Moral Majority.

Homophobia is still alive and well in... San Francisco?! The DNA Lounge, the high-tech nightclub of former Mozilla/Netscape wunderkind Jamie Zawinski, has apparently run afoul of the local Alcohol Beverage Control board. In 2008, during a period of time when the DNA Lounge -- with SFPD and neighborhood approval -- successfully appealed an ABC decision blocking the club from offering all-ages live music, the ABC sent agents into the club during their GLBT nights, and are now trying to shut the club down for "lewdness", "discrimination", and "running a disorderly house injurious to the public welfare and morals".(NSFW!) The DNA is determined not to go quietly into this goodnight.
posted by markkraft on Mar 1, 2009 - 36 comments

Evolution and Emancipation

Darwin the abolitionist. "The theory of evolution is regarded as a triumph of disinterested scientific reason. Yet, on the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species, new research reveals that Darwin was driven to the idea of common descent by a great moral cause." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 8, 2009 - 24 comments

"It is very dangerous to try picking and choosing which truths we dare acknowledge."

"The more we understand why we demonise certain scientific advances, the better we will be able to decide whether some areas of research are so sensitive they should always remain off limits to science." Is Science Out of Control?
posted by tybeet on Jan 10, 2009 - 60 comments

HHS baits, switches

Not just for religious pharmacists anymore: the Department of Health and Human Services proposes a rule that protects anyone who refuses to provide medical services on moral or religious grounds. [more inside]
posted by casarkos on Aug 23, 2008 - 207 comments

Dignity and Bioethics

The Stupidity of Dignity: Conservative bioethics' latest, most dangerous ploy. Steven Pinker reviews Human Dignity and Bioethics, the latest report from the President's Council on Bioethics. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on May 28, 2008 - 28 comments

7 new mortal sins, per Vatican

Vatican lists seven new mortal sins. Not recycling? Go to hell.
posted by wallstreet1929 on Mar 13, 2008 - 73 comments

The psychology of the moral instinct

The Moral Instinct. "Evolution has endowed us with ethical impulses. Do we know what to do with them?" [Via The Mahablog.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 13, 2008 - 68 comments

I could smother the child. I could not smother the child.

What Makes Us Moral and The Morality Quiz. It's war time, and you're hiding in a basement with a group of other people. Enemy soldiers are approaching outside and will be drawn to any sound. If you're found, you'll all be killed immediately. A baby hiding with you starts to cry loudly and cannot be stopped. Smothering it to death is the only way to silence it, saving the lives of everyone in the room. Assume that the parents of the baby are unknown and not present and there will be no penalty for killing the child. Could you be the one who smothered it if no one else would?
posted by amyms on Nov 25, 2007 - 147 comments

Armenian genocide

Genocide: An inconvenient truth "The Armenian genocide bill has been attacked by both the right and the left -- and it may make matters worse. But it's necessary." [Cookie.]
posted by homunculus on Oct 16, 2007 - 56 comments

Jonathan Haidt on the "Five Foundations" of Morality

"From a review of the anthropological and evolutionary literatures [Edge.org]... there were three best candidates for being additional psychological foundations of morality [embedded video], beyond harm/care and fairness/justice. These three we label as ingroup/loyalty (which may have evolved from the long history of cross-group or sub-group competition...); authority/respect (which may have evolved from the long history of primate hierarchy, modified by cultural limitations on power and bullying...), and purity/sanctity, which may be a much more recent system, growing out of the uniquely human emotion of disgust, which seems to give people feelings that some ways of living and acting are higher, more noble, and less carnal than others. [more inside]
posted by McLir on Sep 11, 2007 - 19 comments

Brain

Impaired emotional processing affects moral judgements. People with damage to a key emotion-processing region of the brain also make moral decisions based on the greater good of the community, unclouded by concerns over harming an individual.
posted by semmi on Mar 27, 2007 - 48 comments

An Evolutionary Theory of Right and Wrong

Moral Minds, a new book by Marc Hauser, is based on research by Hauser and colleagues such Josh Greene and John Mikhail. In it, he posits that an innate moral sense is analogous to "universal grammar"[Wiki] from Chomskyan linguistics. As reviewed by a Science Times staff member. ...And a philosopher.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson on Nov 1, 2006 - 23 comments

"An archaic, vestigial piece of ridiculousness."

A judge has thrown out a 201-year-old North Carolina law making it illegal for unmarried couples to live together. The case was previously discussed here.
posted by EarBucket on Jul 21, 2006 - 53 comments

GATTACA

The Promise and Perils of Synthetic Biology
posted by Gyan on Jun 16, 2006 - 14 comments

Forever Pregnant II: Morality Boogaloo

The new lies about women's health (image slightly NSFW) according to Glamour. More on why every egg is sacred to the Bush administration. [via Wired's Sex Drive Daily]
posted by boost ventilator on Jun 3, 2006 - 90 comments

The only moral abortion is my abortion?

The only moral abortion is my abortion? What do some anti-choice women do when they experience unwanted pregnancies themselves? "I never dreamed, in my wildest nightmares, that there would ever be a situation where I personally would choose such an act. . . ."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus on Mar 23, 2006 - 106 comments

The Hart/Devlin Debate

The Hart/Devlin debate. One of the primary issues in the philosophy of law was addressed in a dispute between HLA Hart and Lord Devlin. The issue is to what extent morality can be embodied by the law. It is a debate which continues today.
posted by dios on Mar 16, 2006 - 18 comments

The Angina Chronicles

"We can't do anything about it. We just have to obey." Fulton (Mo.) High School drama students learn that resistance is futile.
posted by Saucy Intruder on Feb 11, 2006 - 87 comments

'Cause The Bible Told Me So

Five Reasons Torture Is Always Wrong. From the magazine "Christianity Today", David P. Gushee, a professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, is against torture. Period. No exceptions. Complete with Bible verses to prove it.
posted by willmize on Jan 27, 2006 - 42 comments

Delegating our moral beliefs. . .

Can we have an intelligent non-religion-bashing discussion about this article? ". . . perhaps the most shocking implication of my inquiry into the role religion plays in our lives" : ". . . those who have an unquestioning faith in the correctness of the moral teachings of their religion are a problem: If they haven't conscientiously considered, on their own, whether their pastors or priests or rabbis or imams are worthy of such delegated authority over their lives, then they are taking a personally immoral stand. Please RTFA before commenting.
posted by spock on Jan 26, 2006 - 175 comments

I mythomoralized your wife by the way

4 out of 5 non-Christians agree: rape rocks the box! "There may be a genuine moral argument against rape to be made outside of the Judeo-Christian ethic, but I have yet to hear it." Well? Let's hear it.
posted by If I Had An Anus on Dec 6, 2005 - 94 comments

Torturing in our name

"We do not torture" (Bush, Nov. 7)
In an important clarification of President George W. Bush's earlier statement, a top White House official refused to unequivocally rule out the use of torture... (Hadley, Nov. 13) -- The fate of a House provision to ban the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody is in doubt, strongly opposed by the Administration. And don't call it torture: the preferred talking point wording is now enhanced interrogation techniques.
posted by amberglow on Nov 14, 2005 - 109 comments

Kobayashi Maru, what do you do?

Taiwan ignores drug patent - To save its people from a dangerous flu, Taiwan is synthesizing a vaccine without permission. This bears a striking resemblance to a classic moral dilemma of Kohlberg's stages of moral development. Kohlberg's theory is not without criticism, including gender bias, Western-centric thinking, and external validity. Simply knowing a person's decision doesn't tell you about their stage of development; you have to know the reasoning behind it, which is hard to come by in real world situations. Conversely, knowing a person's stage of moral development (even harder to come by in the real world) does not reliably predict their decision (moreso at the higher levels). Nor does Kohlberg's theory scale to what choices societies themselves make. Decision Making is a booming field of research, but how much research is being done on morality and group decision making? Not much. (initial article via /.)
posted by Eideteker on Oct 22, 2005 - 33 comments

Common base of morality?

Do the Right Thing
posted by Gyan on Sep 14, 2005 - 63 comments

Imitate Jesus and Socrates

Temperance. Silence. Order. Resolution. Frugality. Industry. Sincerity. Justice. Moderation. Cleanliness. Chastity. Tranquility. Humility. Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues. "He committed to giving strict attention to one virtue each week so after 13 weeks he moved through all 13. After 13 weeks he would start the process over again so in one year he would complete the course a total of 4 times."
posted by nthdegx on Sep 10, 2005 - 32 comments

CL

It's all about Customer Service. Craig Newmark on his spiritual mission...
posted by lilboo on Jul 27, 2005 - 6 comments

melting wax

Is Civilization Decaying? Will technological progress be accompanied by moral progress? Notes on a 1923 debate between J. B. S. Haldane (Daedalus) and Bertrand Russell (Icarus). "As John Brunner pointed out in an article in the New Scientist in 1993, these two books ... inspired two generations of science fiction writers."
posted by painquale on Jul 10, 2005 - 11 comments

Stem Cells - Rumor vs. Reality

Stem cell pioneer does a reality check
posted by daksya on Jun 26, 2005 - 9 comments

.

UpdateFilter: Schiavo autopsy results --contrary to those who used this poor shell of a woman as a political football and fundraiser, Schiavo was not abused, was blind so could not possibly have seen a balloon or her loved ones, and had a brain half the normal weight that was massively and irreversibly damaged. previous posts here--and just one example of the many many lies printed about her and her husband here. Some people should really be ashamed of themselves.
posted by amberglow on Jun 15, 2005 - 169 comments

Another take on class war

"They [the bipartisan elite] have imposed a public morality that affords maximum sexual opportunity for themselves and guarantees maximum domestic chaos for those lower down." While a lot of people (okay, maybe just me) have criticized David Brooks' column as an only-infrequently-successful attempt to channel Malcom Gladwell for the McCain-Specter set, I think he may have stumbled onto a provocative insight here.
posted by MattD on May 29, 2005 - 62 comments

The best of the worst of the week on television.

The best of the worst of the week on television. The Parents Television Council, a U.S.-based watchdog organization trying to stamp out indecency on the airwaves, is doing their part in the war against moral turpitude. How? By creating a website where they host videos of the most offensive scenes on television... inadvertently creating some of the most amusing content on the internet!
posted by insomnia_lj on Apr 15, 2005 - 84 comments

Moral boon or immoral boondoggle?

A new Texas bill seeks to give pharmacists the right to object to dispensing emergency contraceptives. The bill was spurred by over a year's worth of debate about an incident in Denton where a rape victim was denied a morning-after pill by a pharmacist at Eckerd's. Supporters say that pharmacists should be able to opt out of dispensing drugs that are used for abortions, but the opposition points out that the bill's definition of emergency contraceptives can be construed to include all birth control. Should pharmacists be allowed to morally object, or is this an anti-birth-control boondoggle?
posted by rush on Apr 12, 2005 - 118 comments

Turns out it was all just a dream of Frankie's

SPOILER ALERT: There's a movie out now that, like The Crying Game, depends for much of its impact on a plot twist. Are critics honor-bound not to blab that development to readers? (More Inside, including, duh, spoilers)
posted by soyjoy on Feb 8, 2005 - 65 comments

Blame Canada.

Same-sex marriages in Canada may be coming soon, but that's nothing. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that it's OK to masturbate in front of your windows! (Full ruling here, previous mefi discussion here.) The Conservatives in Canada worry that all this moral decadence may lead to polygamy, but Canada's had a polygamist community for some time now. Still, the government does seem to be examining the issue. Meanwhile, parents in Atlantic Canada are outraged their children are learning about mutual masturbation and oral sex. What's next -- adults-only barbershops? Oh, wait....
posted by showmethecalvino on Jan 28, 2005 - 52 comments

Bad Guys

"Can a bad man be a good poet?" Some well-written thoughts on morality, matters of taste, and art by David Orr.
posted by lilboo on Jan 27, 2005 - 30 comments

Photoshop helps

How photoshop helps "moral values" in Iran.
posted by hoder on Nov 27, 2004 - 33 comments

Homosexual agenda v. Christian soldiers

High-school bans traditional crossdressing day because parents complained it was part of the "homosexual agenda." It's replacement? The manly "Camo Day" complete with military fatigues and combat boots. No word on whether there is a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
posted by hipnerd on Nov 17, 2004 - 99 comments

Peace, not gays most important

Liberal Christian groups start a poll war challenging the evangelicals claim to the Christian vote publishing findings that the war and poverty were more important moral issues voters than Iraq. Other views at The Washington Post (subscription required), and The Catholic News
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 11, 2004 - 18 comments

Tired of government-endorsed sin?

Would you like to live in a Christian nation with government similar to the early United States? Well, here’s your chance! Are you disgusted that the gays are stomping on the Consitution? Do you demand the return to a moral government? Become part of the solution and help to redeem the nation, one seceded state at a time.
posted by archimago on May 25, 2004 - 76 comments

The Moral Case Against the Iraq War

The Moral Case Against the Iraq War
Also on the moral tip, Memos Reveal War Crimes Warnings
internal January 25, 2002, memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales (PDF)
posted by y2karl on May 18, 2004 - 36 comments

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