✎✎✎ Anthropocentricism In New England
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Environmental Value Systems
Surveillance cameras are rampant in tight countries, reminding the public to behave themselves. They capture images of drivers talking on the phone, texting, not wearing seat belts, and driving over the speed limit, as well as tailgating and changing lanes excessively. Similarly, Japan has millions of surveillance cameras on streets, buildings, store entrances, taxis, and train stations.
Tight cultures also tend to rank higher on religiosity, cleanliness, and organization. Even after factoring in national wealth, they found that tighter countries tend to have more cleaning personnel on city streets. Slovenly behavior like this is generally more widespread in loose cultures. In addition to generally being cleaner, tight cultures tend to have less noise pollution. Germany has mandated quiet hours on Sundays and holiday evenings.
Even libraries, which are supposed to be the quintessential haven for quiet, are rated as being much noisier in looser cultures. People are more likely to dress the same, buy the same things, and generally downplay their uniqueness. Because if everybody acts like everybody else, order and coordination become much easier. Take something as seemingly benign as which hand you use for writing. The tighter a country is, the more likely it is to require school uniforms. This uniformity even extends to the cars people drive. I had my team of research assistants also venture into parking lots around the world.
We found less variation in the make and color of cars in tight cultures as compared with loose ones. In the Middle East, the adhan, or Islamic call to prayer, resonates through the streets five times a day, synchronizing individuals throughout the region. My research supports this argument: People in tight cultures do indeed show higher self-control. Some of the highest scores for alcohol consumption in liters per capita also came from loose countries such as Spain, Estonia, and New Zealand. Residents of tight nations such as Singapore, India, and China score low on alcohol consumption rates. Residents of loose countries such as the United States, Hungary, and Estonia are more likely to gamble than residents of tight countries such as South Korea and Singapore.
Loose cultures have a significant edge when it comes to being open—to new ideas, different people, and change—qualities that tight cultures sorely lack. The king then asks the Callatiae, an Indian tribe, who were known to eat their parents, how much money it would take for them to cremate their corpses. The Callatiae cry out in horror and tell Darius not to suggest such appalling acts. Generally, people in tight cultures are more likely to believe their culture is superior and needs to be protected from foreign influences. Too much diversity can lead to tightness though. When diversity gets to be extreme, as it is in Pakistan, which has at least six major ethnic groups and over 20 spoken languages, and India, with its 22 official languages and hundreds of dialects, diversity can cause conflict, which, as we know, requires strict norms to manage.
When diversity gets to be very high, tightness begins to increase markedly. In the tight state of Louisiana lies New Orleans, the historically diverse and cosmopolitan port city that is one of the most permissive in the country,. In tight communities in loose states, and they often display very low diversity. This principle clearly applies to nations, and it plays out in states, too.
Mother Nature played a key part in perpetuating tight-loose differences across the U. Many of the states that rank high in tightness, for example, were marked by difficult ecological conditions early on. In the nineteenth century, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and several areas westward were inhospitable territories that experienced very little rain. There were few places where agriculture could survive without the help of extensive irrigation projects. We also tracked where hurricanes hit with available data from to In the list of over 50 of the deadliest hurricanes that have occurred in U. Examining Centers for Disease Control data from to , we found that vulnerability to common diseases e.
While tight states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina scored high on pathogens, loose states such as Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont scored low. Tight states exhibit higher rates of food insecurity, with fewer households having adequate access to food, and they also have less access to clean air. Tight Indiana, for example, has the poorest air quality in the country, followed by Ohio and Kentucky. By comparison, Oregon, Maine, and New Mexico—all loose states—are among the states with the clearest air. Throughout American history, the state of California has been rocked by natural disasters ranging from earthquakes to wildfires to mudslides to heat waves.
Yet California is a loose state, for reasons similar to an exception we noted when looking at individual nations—Israel. The first Red Scare was ignited shortly afterward in by a series of bombs detonated across the country by a few anarchists. These events amped up public fear and paranoia of politically radical groups, and then fear of immigrants and minorities. Laws were passed to deport immigrants, limit free speech, and infringe on the civil rights of suspected communities. After the USSR tested its first nuclear weapon in , Americans feared a nuclear war was imminent and that Soviet spies had infiltrated the U.
A witch hunt against Communists ensued,. All the restrictions, monitoring, and punishments of the s, for example, gradually gave way to the extreme looseness of the s. As more households acquired television sets, more Americans were exposed to new ideas and places. The following decades ushered in unbridled permissiveness, including greater recreational drug use and sexual promiscuity. Fast-forward to September 11, , which unleashed another temporary wave of tightness. Perceived threat—often about terrorism, immigration, and globalization—tightens cultures and catapults autocratic leaders onto the national stage.
Class divides have become a front-burner political issue. Respondents ranked class conflicts ahead of those between the young and the old and city and rural dwellers. This chasm between the haves and have-nots exists around the world. The chance of falling into destitution is a constant threat among members of the lower class. Author Joseph Howell similarly notes that slipping into hard living—a term he uses to describe the dregs of poverty—is a relentless preoccupation among the working class that motivates them to vigilantly guard their precarious status.
Whereas upper-class individuals experience the world as safe and welcoming, lower-class individuals tend to view it as fraught with extreme danger. And because money can buy second chances, those who have it have a different attitude toward novelty and risk. Upper-class families know that they have a safety net if they run into problems and so they encourage their children to explore and take chances. Because lower-class families lack a safety net to offset the negative effects of careless mistakes and lapses in judgment, they tend to actively discourage this kind of experimentation. In addition to facing economic uncertainty, the lower class is saddled with serious safety and health threats. Their jobs have much higher odds of injury, dismemberment, and death.
Poorer communities in the United States face more than double the rate of violent crime relative to higher-income communities. They are also far more likely to be victims of gun violence, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, and sexual assault and rape. The lower class also experiences greater health vulnerabilities throughout their lives relative to their upper-class counterparts, showing higher rates of illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, and ulcers. The combination of high threat, low mobility, and low exposure to diversity is a perfect recipe for the evolution of tightness in the lower class.
Lower-class adults were more likely to indicate that they faced stronger rules, harsher punishments, more monitoring, and fewer choices in their childhood home, current workplace, and lives more generally. They also reported that the situations they encounter on a daily basis are much tighter, with fewer behaviors that are deemed acceptable. They also live in more dangerous places. For members of the lower class, rules are critical for survival. In communities where teens may be tempted to turn to drugs and gangs, strict rules laid down by authority figures are essential to keeping kids on track.
And for people in low-wage, routinized jobs where creativity is discouraged, rule breaking can lead to getting fired. For the lower class, rules are meant to be followed, as they provide moral order in a world of potential turmoil. In an experiment, lower-class children were more likely to tell others that they were doing a task wrong or cheating. By contrast, upper-class children appeared to be more understanding and accepting of violating the rules given, sometimes even laughing appreciatively. Even by age three, these more privileged kids thought there was nothing wrong with breaking the rules once in a while.
It turns out that children in different social classes are exposed to radically different types of socialization. Lower-class parents stressed the importance of conformity, wanting their children to be obedient and neat. Upper-class parents wanted their kids to have self-direction—to be independent. Kohn also found striking contrasts in parental attitudes about punishment of wrongdoing. Lower-class parents punished their children for disobedience and for the negative consequences of their behavior, regardless of whether it was intentional or accidental.
Knowing that their children will likely have to navigate a world of social threat—and work at jobs where they have little discretion—lower-class parents emphasize the importance of conformity to try to help them succeed. After all, not following protocol at work can get one fired or badly hurt. Bernstein also found a fascinating connection between social class and the way that people use language. Children also encounter these structural differences in school. Metaphorically speaking, schools with a predominantly lower-class population are more likely to resemble the military, with their strong emphasis on rules and obedience, whereas schools with upper-class populations resemble universities, with their comparable freedom.
From a very young age, the lives of the children of the lower and upper classes begin to diverge—from the values their parents enforce, to the language they speak, to the structure of their households and schools, even to how they react to Max, the norm-violating puppet. These cultural differences have a profound impact on how these children behave as adults. When given the opportunity to conform or stand out, lower-class individuals, this study showed, prefer to blend in whereas upper-class individuals prefer to be unique.
Beyond their more reckless driving behavior, people higher in social class take more liberty in violating conversational etiquette. The loose behavior of upper-class individuals can even make them less ethical. In our surveys of hundreds of people, working-class individuals were less likely to endorse unscrupulous actions like stealing supplies at work or cheating on tests. Psychologist Murray Straus found discrepancies in creativity are inculcated early. He worked with families from different socioeconomic backgrounds and asked them to complete problem-solving tasks while an observer took detailed notes on their ideas. Among the sixty-four American families participating, those with higher socioeconomic status attempted many more creative solutions to the tasks than did families from lower-class backgrounds.
The same results were found in India and Puerto Rico. In short, members of the lower class, while more likely to abide by rules and norms and even be more ethical, are less likely to think outside of the box. Remarkably, the same tight-loose signature applies to social class: Studies show that, in general, members of the lower-class report more negative attitudes toward homeless people, homosexuals, Muslims, the disabled, and even people with tattoos. Women, minorities, and homosexuals have less power and less latitude, and are subjected to stronger punishments, even for the same norm violations. They, in short, live in much tighter worlds. When women and minorities were said to engage in norm-breaking behaviors, managers thought they warranted more punishment than when the same behaviors were done by majority males.
Similarly, a study looking at the financial advisor industry found that although misconduct is more frequent among male employees, women are more likely to be punished, and more severely so [my comment: yea, like Martha Stewart nabbed for insider trading when thousands of men are who usually do this]. African American criminals are punished more harshly and sentenced to more time behind bars than white criminals with comparable histories. In the United States, African Americans are imprisoned at a rate that is five times the imprisonment rate of whites. African Americans are also far more likely to be targeted, brutalized, and killed by police, a phenomenon that prompted the Black Lives Matter. The pattern is clear: People with different levels of status and power—whether that status and power are based on income, race, gender, sexual orientation, or another individual characteristic—live in different cultural worlds.
While you might expect an American moving to Japan or a German moving to New Zealand to experience culture shock, it may be less evident that someone moving between classes might have just as much trouble adapting. This is particularly the case for members of the working class, who are typically ill-prepared to cross into upper-class schools and workplaces that have been effectively designed to promote looseness. One reason poor students do less well in college : The loose norms and openness of many college campuses are comfortable for upper-class students, but they can be disorienting and alienating to students from working-class backgrounds.
Lower-class children, who have grown up in tight environments that emphasize conformity over independence, structure over creativity, and obedience over deviance, are more likely to struggle. For them, attending college, even one close to home, can feel like traveling to a foreign country. By the end of their first semester, lower-class students felt less academically prepared, less successful at making friends, and more stressed out. These students were overwhelmed by the complexity of college life, and yearned for clarity and simplicity. Class differences are deeply cultural, and the world urgently needs greater cultural empathy across class lines. Arguably, we need this now more than ever. People from different social classes are increasingly isolated from one another, as seen in the growing urban-rural divides around the globe.
We tend to further compartmentalize ourselves on social media and follow different media outlets e. Many of the differences between the lower and upper classes have an underlying logic. Lower-class occupations, including plumbers, butchers, factory workers, janitors, and prison guards, require sophisticated technical and physical skills. They also require the ability to be dependable and follow rules. A tight mind-set is critical for success in these contexts. Meanwhile, upper-class jobs, such as those in law, engineering, medicine, academia, and management, among other white-collar professions, are built on alternative strengths, such as creativity, vision, independence, and even breaking from tradition.
These strengths necessitate a looser mind-set. Neither set of strengths should be viewed as superior. In , two auto industry giants, Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corporation, tied the knot. Both companies were deeply enmeshed in their own way of doing business, and their cultural incompatibility soon became apparent. American employees were taught German formalities, such as keeping their hands out of their pockets during professional interactions. And while the Germans wanted thick files of prep work and a strict agenda for their team meetings, Americans approached these gatherings as a time to brainstorm and have unstructured conversations. Daimler had a top-down, heavily managed, hierarchical structure devoted to precision.
Chrysler, on the other hand, was a looser operation with a more relaxed, freewheeling, and egalitarian business culture. Chrysler also used a leaner production style, which minimized unnecessary personnel and red tape. As these company cultures collided, Daimler faced a decision: compromise or cannibalize. It chose the latter. Trust between these two foreign units became irreparable. Key Chrysler executives left, and after nine years of declines in stock price and employee morale, the transnational pair finally divorced in People in loose cultures prefer visionary leaders who are collaborative. They want leaders to advocate for change and empower their workers.
Just as countries have practical reasons for becoming collectively tighter or looser, so do industries. Tightness abounds in industries that face threat and need seamless coordination. Sectors such as nuclear power plants, hospitals, airlines, police departments, and construction evolve into tight cultures due to their life-or-death stakes. The military is the iconic example of tightness. From day one, U. Marine recruits endure a punishing boot camp and indoctrination period that turn individual soldiers into one synchronous corps who, above all, respect their leaders. Zooming in to any specific organization, we can see why certain units evolve to be tight versus loose even in the same organization. Some occupations are inherently more accountable to laws and regulations, even in the absence of physical threat—think lawyers, auditors, bankers, and government officials.
These jobs are bound to high standards of professional accountability. As a result, their work unit cultures foster much stronger norms and compliance monitoring. Without even realizing it, each of us has developed tight and loose mind-sets that effortlessly help us navigate our social surroundings. Far more than a mere mood or even an attitude, a mind-set is like the program we use to make decisions. The tight mind-set involves paying a great deal of attention to social norms, a strong desire to avoid mistakes, a lot of impulse control, and a preference for order and structure. Relishing routine, it requires a keen sensitivity to signs of disorder. The loose mind-set, by contrast, is less attentive to social norms, more willing to take risks, more impulsive, and more comfortable with disorder and ambiguity.
These different mind-sets influence our daily lives and relationships in ways that we might not be fully aware. Environments automatically change our mind-sets—constrained at the symphony; relaxed at the rock concert. Psychologically, this is your mind and body adjusting to the strength of social norms in your surroundings. If you have a partner, you might see tight-loose tensions play out in different attitudes about religion, savings, or neatness. Highly structured and rule-bound activities, like playing bridge or doing karate, foster a tight mind-set, whereas more spontaneous and open-ended activities, like painting or hip-hop dancing, foster a loose mind-set.
Species such as bats, dolphins, and even rats use forms of radar to navigate their physical environment. In fact, a defining quality of tight and loose mind-sets is the strength or weakness of this normative radar. Some people just seem to be oblivious to social norms. We call otherwise intelligent adults who lack normative radar idiots, jerks, or comedians. We all know people who seem completely unaware of social norms. People with low normative radar have difficulty understanding what is expected of them, and they tend to behave similarly across a wide range of situations. Paying no heed to situational requirements, they act primarily on their own beliefs and desires. People with high normative radar are quite sensitive to the social norms around them.
In a study, participants listen to 20 prerecorded sentences in which a trained actress conveyed different emotions by changing her voice intonations and inflections. The results were striking. People with high normative radar identified the different emotions with great accuracy. Meanwhile, people with low normative radar struggled with the task. This is a learned trait.
In tight countries dominated by strong rules with substantial constraints on acceptable behavior, a keen ability and desire to detect social expectations pays off—if only to avoid punishment. By the same logic, in countries where rules are weaker, and a wider range of behavior is permissible as at a rock concert , people tend to possess a looser mind-set and lower normative radar. Other vignettes described a person applauding in a concert versus at a funeral, shouting at the library versus on a city sidewalk, and so on. The brains of participants from both the United States and China registered the norm violations in the central-parietal brain region, which is responsible for processing surprising events.
The neurons of Chinese subjects fired with great force in the frontal area of the brain, which helps us think about the intentions of others and make decisions about punishment. Americans, in contrast, showed little response to norm violations in the frontal region. Differences in normative radar, it appears, become deeply embrained. When norms are strong, we feel a strong sense of accountability—we sense that our actions may be evaluated and even punished if they deviate. When that warning signal goes off, the tight mind-set takes over. Its prime motive is to avoid making mistakes by being vigilant, cautious, and careful. In situations with fewer normative requirements, we have fewer fears about doing the wrong thing.
Rather than being driven to avoid mistakes, we set bolder, often riskier goals. People in tight cultures who have to abide by strong social norms are socialized to be more cautious. These are learned differences, but they may also have at least some genetic basis. A graduate student of mine recalls encountering an arsenal of regulations at her childhood school in Taiyuan, Shanxi. Pupils who acted out faced a range of punishments, such as standing in front of the classroom for the entirety of the class, being excluded from fun school activities, or even being hit with a ruler.
Many Chinese schools have strong monitoring systems. Some classrooms even have webcams that continuously broadcast how well children are behaved, with footage being shown to parents and school officials. People with a low tolerance for ambiguity have trouble dealing with people who are unfamiliar or different. These traits of distaste for ambiguity and prejudice against other ethnic groups appears to be passed on from parents to children very early in life.
Several examples of how couples who have tight and loose tendencies manage to get along are given towards the end of the book. She concludes that the best societies are a balance of tight and loose, of constraint and freedom, because the extremely tight and extremely loose nations had the lowest levels of happiness, highest levels of suicide, lowest life expectancies, and highest death rates from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. These most extreme nations also have higher levels of political instability and the lowest GDP per capita. When you look at Egypt or the fallen Soviet Union, it seems incredible that ghastly autocrats like Putin took over. But when a regime that tightly controlled society, no matter how bad, causes society to descend into chaos and crime, people seek security and become vulnerable to fascism and autocrats to restore order.
Putin now rules with an iron fist, where protests, online criticism, or advocacy of political or human rights can result in jail or thousands of dollars in fines. Many examples of other nations are given as well. Most worrisome for the postcarbon future is the section titled: When cultures collapse, Radicalization steps in. It seems like this is already happening in the U.
The book spends the next few pages explaining how ISIS came to be one of the most violent terrorists organizations. Hence those who voted for Trump. In over hate groups existed in the U. Some of the corporations who donated money to this and similar organizations include:. Penney, J. Walter Thompson, Mark A. Pictures, Weyerhauser. In the s, corporations were well known to have brought on the Great Depression with their tremendous greed and dishonesty. The New Deal reformed the financial system, distributed wealth more evenly, provided a social safety net, protected citizens by regulating businesses to prevent them from selling unsafe food, drugs, etc. The New Deal embodied the ideals of the Social Gospel, a movement dedicated to the public good, economic equality, eradication of poverty, slums, child labor, an unclean environment, inadequate labor unions, poor schools, and war Wiki Social Gospel.
Corporate America fought against these reforms and has been trying to undo the New Deal ever since then. In a nutshell he writes:. Survival in those environments was harsh, with perpetual threats from predators, starvation, disease, and violence from outside tribes. These are the environments in which our political predispositions evolved. Also see: Why we need more women leaders. Animals eat one another without qualm; civilized men consume one another by due process of law.
Triumph in one group is met with fear and bewilderment in another. Old prejudices are reanimated; new ones are invented. The masses succumb to irrational forces, prodded to frenzy by politicians and the media. The nation is poised to devour itself. The controversial election of Donald Trump as the 45th US president polarized the United States more than any other time in its contemporary history. The s saw police and the right wing clash violently with the leftist counterculture and with the civil rights and anti—Vietnam War movements. In the s, McCarthyism drove the nation into repression, fearmongering, and political paranoia. All of these schisms have been grounded in partisan psychology.
Such Left-Right divisions are old, seen all over the world, and, in some form or another, certain to continue. But why are these periods of conflict so common across nations and history? To truly understand the turmoil of today we must look somewhere most of us are unaccustomed to looking—our primordial past. Our current political struggles are ancient, rooted in a time before we even had nations, and indeed before we were fully human. What I will show you in this book is that the difficulties we face forming cohesive societies in the modern era reflect psychological adaptations with a simple, ancient purpose—keeping our ancestors alive in savagely dangerous environments. All too often these adaptations are at odds with the environments in which we currently live.
This mismatch between the ancient and the modern is at the core of what divides us along political lines. To help us safely foray into this treacherous crossroads of gender, sex, and politics as we move forward, religion will also cross this path , let us proceed with the understanding that in the grand scheme of human psychology, men and women, and liberals and conservatives, exhibit far more similarities than differences across innumerable psychological indices—daddies also worry when the children are sick, and mommies too bring home the bacon.
Nevertheless, we venture into the slivers of difference, for those slim terrains abound with explanatory information about our evolved political psychology. Far exceeding the scope of any government sex scandal, male competition for women turns out to be the core driving force behind contentious political issues as wide-ranging as affirmative action, social welfare, gender equality, contraception, abortion, taxes, criminal law, and foreign policy. Even the winner-take-all mentality of conservative economic policy is based on male competition for mates. Here I will show you how the militaristic logic embedded in that psychology maps squarely onto all the hallmark values of political conservatism.
It is from the context of violent male mate competition, and its most heightened expression, war, that we are able to most fully understand the masculine tenor of conservative political psychology,. The roots of liberalism, too, are far older than we imagined, having arisen from the timeless effort to rein in dominant males and to prevent them from monopolizing resources and impinging on the evolutionary fitness of those with less power. Yet there is striking evidence suggesting that male competition has impelled some women to adopt conservative ideals as a means of competing with other females, making alliances with dominant men, and producing sons who are themselves strong male competitors.
And because our current circumstances comprise only a blink of an eye in our evolutionary history, we retain psychological adaptations for that ancestral world. What this ultimately means is that the dark-suited men who represent us in government wield the power to steer the global economy, shift the parameters of human liberty, or unleash the devastating machinery of war, and they do so using Stone Age brains.
Today the political machine spans a vast, interconnected community of hundreds of nations around the globe, controlling billions of individual human beings. Adding vertiginous complexity to an unfathomable scope, politics are conducted with a stunning degree of bureaucratic intricacy, veined with deception, confounded by continuously shifting alliances, obscured by the conflicting commentary of partisan analysts, and steered by behind-the-scenes maneuvering of wealthy political stakeholders. One common pitfall is known as the moralistic fallacy, which occurs when we assume that undesirable qualities of nature simply cannot be true.
It lies behind the bad science in nature-documentary voiceovers: lions are mercy-killers of the weak and sick, mice feel no pain when cats eat them, dung beetles recycle dung to benefit the ecosystem and so on. It also lies behind the romantic belief that humans cannot harbor desires to kill, rape, lie, or steal because that would be too depressing or reactionary. The inverse of the moralistic fallacy, the naturalistic fallacy, assumes that what is natural must be moral or desired, and it is equally to be avoided. The naturalistic fallacy is the idea that what is found in nature is good. It was the basis for social Darwinism, the belief that helping the poor and sick would get in the way of evolution, which depends on the survival of the fittest.
As you may have guessed, political conservatives are more likely to commit this kind of fallacy. Examples may sound something like the following: men are naturally physically stronger than women, therefore women should be subordinate to men; warfare is instinctive, therefore it is acceptable. This fallacy is partly what makes liberals see conservatives as coldhearted and cynical.
There are evolutionary reasons for adopting one or the other of these fallacies. The other challenge is in seeing psychological impulses that are usually hidden from conscious awareness—for example, becoming aware of the powerful drive to reproduce our genes, which we normally take for granted as simply the desire for a sexy partner, or love for our children. Eminent evolutionary psychologists Leda Cosmides and John Tooby refer to this phenomenon as instinct blindness. We are often blind to our evolved predispositions, which are so ancient that they work seamlessly in the background while directly affecting our foreground behaviors and ideologies.
The evolved reasons for our political behavior can be counted among those difficult-to-see processes. Most people tend to think of their political views as carefully considered choices they have made—perhaps reflecting the influence of particular experiences or people in their lives. Yet the picture is not as simple as we once thought. Twin studies are one such branch of study. Identical twins, who share nearly percent of their genes, show high concordance in their political orientations and more concordance than nonidentical twins, who share only half their genes. Even more revealing, however, are studies of twins reared apart. Research has found that monozygotic identical twins reared apart have virtually the same likelihood of sharing a political orientation as those reared together.
Several historical factors have been identified that have been pulling the parties apart, for example, the rise of ideologically driven media interests like Fox News and conservative talk radio networks in the s and s, and the rise of coalitions between economic conservatives and religious fundamentalists in the s. Also influential was the civil rights movement of the s and s, which spurred mass defection of white Southern Democrats to the Republican Party. Parties fall along a Left-Right continuum that is itself exceptionally stable; the ability to identify oneself on the Left-Right dimension has been reliably demonstrated across nearly every human society. The decision of Gnus on their migration to surge ahead through that dangerous river is not completely random.
The ones that go first tend, on average, to have an inborn predilection for taking the first step. This trait, which as shorthand we can call risk-taking, has its benefits. Those who make it across will have less competition for the lushest, most nutrient-rich grasses, as well as the freshest drinking water. Because these same traits coding for risk-taking also land some wildebeest in the stomachs of crocodiles. Back on the other end of the herd, queuing last in the rush across, are the lingerers. Notably, most of the wildebeest herd is somewhere in the middle. This explanation is more illustrative than scientific. However, there is a growing body of science to show that humans, like other creatures of the natural world, share similar basic predispositions to approach or avoid.
It is not possible to fully understand human politics without understanding the ancient dangers of the natural world that shaped these modern-day inclinations. One study, for example, found the Big Five in 50 societies and across six continents worldwide. The ubiquity of these findings strongly suggests that the Big Five patterns of interfacing with the world are genetically based universals. If there were a human analogue to our first river-crossing wildebeest, it would probably be people high on openness to experience. This personality construct includes a general appreciation for novelty and adventure, things like world travel, trying new foods, listening to different kinds of music.
While the Big Five factors are generally considered distinct, there is a moderately high correlation between openness to experience and another dimension in the model, extroversion—the tendency to be talkative, to be assertive, to seek social interaction, and to have high social ability. Those scoring low on openness, on the other hand, are described as being closed to experience. Closed individuals tend to choose routine over new experiences, prefer predictability, and tend to be more traditional in their thinking. Human personality traits, in particular openness to experience, reliably correlate with political orientation. In one revealing longitudinal study, researchers started by conducting personality assessments on nursery school children.
In any case, the traits described in these preschoolers were observable long before they developed what we could call political identities. Twenty years later, these same individuals were rated on their political orientation. Preschoolers who rated as curious, impulsive, talkative, and so on reliably grew up to be liberals, whereas those who were described as shy, distrustful of others, compliant, and adult-seeking grew up to be conservatives. The ability of childhood personality traits to predict politics across such an impressive time span shows that genetic predispositions can influence our political orientations. Indeed, a large volume of research has found that openness is associated with tendencies like self-identifying as liberal, voting liberal, and supporting liberal policies.
It follows that this attraction to novelty and tolerance for complexity encourage not only overall liberalism, but also support for liberal social and economic policies, which typically involve new programs or interventions that overturn existing practices. Crucially, this personality dimension reflects openness not only to things like new policies or programs but also to other people. Consider another study in which researchers rated how liberals and conservatives interacted with confederates researchers posing as non-researchers. The researchers found that while conservatives tended to be reserved, socially distracted, and withdrawn, liberals smiled more and oriented their seats in the direction of the confederate more.
Personal spaces of more liberal subjects were more likely to contain books on travel, travel documents, international maps, cultural memorabilia, CDs that include world music and a wide variety of music, and an overall greater number and variety of books. Their spaces also were rated as more colorful and stylish. Again, a prominent thread in the tapestry of openness is an attraction to new people, new cultures, and traveling to distant lands where you find new people.
The attraction to and interest in outsiders, which we see so strongly among liberals, has been termed xenophilia. Openness to new experiences, particularly to things like travel, puts us in contact with new people. Openness to new people allows us to interact with those we encounter in our travels and to exchange knowledge, goods, and technology. There is even research showing that liberals possess adaptations that allow them to be more open to eating a greater variety of foods, which would be valuable in novel environments or cultures.
Moreover, sexual openness, a hallmark of being liberal, would allow us to exchange useful genes. Essentially, being liberal has its survival advantages. The opposite trait, xenophobia results not only in a dislike of outsiders but also a corresponding preference for in-group members and values. This preference often manifests as a sense of patriotism and loyalty. The anti-out-group firestorm Trump created, along with his brash, strongman persona, did not go unnoticed by world leaders, particularly those in Europe, whose homelands bear the not-too-distant memory of charismatic Fascist leaders who exterminated millions of souls during World War II, using similar rhetoric. Trump, like others, stokes hatred. By speaking openly and negatively against groups perceived as outsiders by his core base of conservative white Republicans, Trump was able to win their vote and ultimately the US presidential election.
This momentous political event illustrates a highly consistent empirical finding—namely that conservative political ideology predicts prejudice against the outside group. In study after study, conservatives report more negative attitudes and racial stereotypes than liberals. Being xenophobic and closed to experience i. For one, a tendency to prefer the company of the in-group would have made inbreeding more likely, which can increase altruism in a population by increasing the amount of shared genes. Too much outbreeding can also cause obstetric problems. Preeclampsia is a condition that can lead to a host of health problems in the pregnant mother, such as kidney and liver failure, and even death.
Mating with local populations, who had had many generations to adapt to their environment, including time to develop resistance to local pathogens, would have produced better adapted offspring and restored needed genetic diversity to a population. Other problems of outbreeding relate to immunology. Through natural selection, populations develop genetic immunities to local pathogens. But when humans begin breeding with outsiders whose immune systems were not adapted for their locality, the resulting offspring have less genetic resistance to those local diseases.
And here is where it gets interesting. If xenophobia among conservatives reflects an adaptation that helped our ancestors avoid contagious diseases from outsiders, we would also expect to see conservatives exhibiting more fear of contagion. Xenophobia among humans—which ultimately results in things like separate water fountains, race riots, or even genocide—may at least in part be related to germs.
What may not be as intuitive is the reason for these connections. As it turns out, the pressures of deadly infectious and genetic diseases in our ancestral history drove both liberal and conservative psychologies and, as a means to survive those diseases, distinctive liberal and conservative mating strategies. One recessive copy of the cystic fibrosis allele is thought to help us resist a host of deadly diseases, such as cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, and diarrhea. The right amount of outbreeding, then, brings the genetic diversity needed to roll with the punches of environmental change. Migrations often brought violent conflict with outside groups, moving through dangerous environments like deserts or jungles, and encounters with predators, severe weather, famine, or disease, all of which culled populations and created bottlenecks where the genetic diversity of populations became constrained.
Notably, bottlenecks often reduce genetic resistance to infectious disease. Human survival is contingent not only on macro-level phenomena like mating, finding food, or not getting eaten but also on the epic microscopic wars within us. The emotion of disgust, for example, is an adaptation that allows thinking, acting humans to help our cellular networks avoid pathogens. For instance, imagine what the consequences would be for a human who was unable to experience disgust when presented with feces. Many of the diseases that threaten humans are transmitted by other humans. Could fear of disease translate into fear of outsiders or even political conservatism?
A large volume of research would suggest so. Those with higher disgust sensitivity were more likely to see immigrants and foreign ethnic groups as less than human, as well as to score higher on measures strongly associated with political conservatism, such as social dominance orientation and right-wing authoritarianism. Epidemiological maps around the globe to determine the prevalence of diseases such as leishmania, schistosoma, trypanosoma, malaria, filaria, leprosy, dengue, typhus, and tuberculosis. Not only did they find that openness to experience was greater where there was less disease but also that where disease was more prevalent, women in particular showed more sexual restraint.
Conversely, Schaller and Murray found that in places with less infectious disease, women showed more interest in new sexual partners and more comfort with casual sex, showing a liberal-leaning openness to experience. In the same vein, another study found that the farther away people are from the equator, where the climate is hotter and home to more pathogens, the higher they are in extraversion, a trait associated with liberal voting. The natural world teems with dangers of many varieties, and conservatives may be more sensitive to all of them. In addition to conservatives being more closed to experience, and more sensitive to disgust, research finds that conservatives tend to be generally more fearful.
Research continues to find that fear of other humans is strong among conservatives. One study, for example, found that when shown photos of people making ambiguous facial expressions, Republicans, far more than Democrats, will project threatening emotions like anger. For a large span of our evolutionary history other animals were not the biggest threat to humans. Rather, other humans were—not only as vectors of disease but also as murderers.
Danger from the lethal hands of humans may have been among the biggest selective pressures driving our personality differences and their associated political ideologies. But this is only half the story; specifically men are the most dangerous humans. Even today men account for an astronomically higher percentage of all kinds of violence than women, and recent psychological research suggests that men have been so dangerous across evolutionary history that our brains are primed to fear them.
Studies have shown that our brains are prepared to fear not simply outsiders but outside men. However, there are times at which a particular adaptation becomes a disadvantage when it no longer matches the current environment—known as an evolutionary mismatch. The concept of the evolutionary mismatch can help to illuminate the political challenges of our modern age. Across our history competition of this kind has led to staggering levels of human bloodshed.
Despite these gains, in many ways we remain closed, suspicious, tribalistic people straining to form a globalist union while using our Stone Age minds. Thus, one important question is, how xenophobic do we really need to be in the face of our unprecedented ability to sustain ourselves? Once again, evolutionary science suggests that another force behind our enduring political tribalism is an adaptation designed to help us avoid deadly pathogens. Thus our ancestors died from simple afflictions, such as the common cold, the flu, or diarrhea, with crushing regularity. Under those conditions, developing a prejudicial psychology to help us avoid human vectors of disease was evolutionarily practical.
But we have made profound strides in the field of immunology. Many pathogens that wiped out entire populations of humans have since been eradicated, and many that remain can be deflected with cheap, widely available vaccines. Despite that today we are exponentially safer from pathogens, our mastery over germs has existed over a mere eye blink of our history as a species, far too recently to erase germ-driven prejudice from our psychology. The reasons why humans could not openly cooperate on a global scale, freely sharing resources, information, and technology to advance humankind seem to lie less on the practical than the emotional.
One study found that right-wing orientation was far more prevalent among Hollywood stars who play male action heroes. In this study, right-wing orientation—as measured by things like political donations, party support, and support for military actions—was exorbitantly more prominent among action stars The stereotype that political liberalism reflects a feminine orientation, and conservatism a masculine one, has been around for some time.
Overwhelmingly, the researchers found that voters used more masculine stereotypes to describe GOP candidates and more feminine stereotypes to describe Democrats. What McDermott found was that men and women who scored high on femininity were significantly more likely to identify as Democrat, and that men and women who scored high on masculinity were more likely to identify as Republican.
Conservatism, I argue, is a male-centric strategy shaped significantly by the struggle for dominance in within-and-between group mate competitions, while liberalism is a female-centric strategy derived from the protracted demands of rearing human offspring, among other selective pressures. Not all men enact a conservative strategy, nor do all women enact a liberal strategy.
But we do see sex-based leanings. Imagine two bell curves, one tilting toward the political Right for men, and another to the Left for women, with significant overlap between the curves. Even so, existing differences have meaningful implications for our political psychology. Not all females have the female-typical brain and not all males have the male-typical brain, but that there are certain quantifiable, male-typical extremes evidenced in those with autism spectrum disorders. As it turns out, the numerous and important differences between females and males that Baron-Cohen uses to explain autism sequelae are glaringly present between liberals and conservatives on nearly every difference. One rather extraordinary talent of the human brain is imputing mental states to others, to have theory of mind other minds , or to mindread—to understand that others have thoughts, intentions, emotion states, and so on.
Compared to other animals, humans are the undisputed world champions at this remarkable skill. There is ample research demonstrating that women outperform men on theory of mind ToM tasks and that these differences are evidenced early in life. While to date few studies directly measuring differences in this ability between liberals and conservatives have been conducted, two neuroimaging studies offer a preliminary look literally inside the political brain. One study measured gray-matter volume and found that those who self-identified as liberal exhibited greater volume in the anterior cingulate cortex while conservatives exhibited greater brain volume in the amygdala. The anterior cingulate cortex is a brain region considered to be an integrative hub for social interactions, implicated in both theory of mind and feeling the pain of others.
The amygdala, as previously noted, is the fear center of the brain. More directly, women score higher than men on questionnaires specifically designed to measure empathy. In people with autism, the ability to experience empathy is usually impaired. The liberal penchant for empathy is seen in the tendency to do things like join Greenpeace to save baby seals, or to feel sadness and moral outrage when loggers saw down the forests of Amazonian Natives, basically all the stuff that makes conservatives roll their eyes and think, Run along and hug a tree or something. Humans have far more facial muscles than any other animal a whopping 43 , which, through a nuanced and nearly infinite array of facial expressions, allows us to send and receive a stunning volume of social information.
The fundamental norm of many games is the norm establishing who wins and loses. In other games, it is the norm establishing how to score points. Some people say they are "prescriptively true" or false. Whereas the truth of a descriptive statement is purportedly based on its correspondence to reality, some philosophers, beginning with Aristotle, assert that the prescriptive truth of a prescriptive statement is based on its correspondence to right desire.
Other philosophers maintain that norms are ultimately neither true or false, but only successful or unsuccessful valid or invalid , as their propositional content obtains or not see also John Searle and speech act. There is an important difference between norms and normative propositions, although they are often expressed by identical sentences. Some ethical theories reject that there can be normative propositions, but these are accepted by cognitivism. One can also think of propositional norms; assertions and questions arguably express propositional norms they set a proposition as asserted or questioned.
Another purported feature of norms, it is often argued, is that they never regard only natural properties or entities. Norms always bring something artificial, conventional, institutional or "unworldly". This might be related to Hume's assertion that it is not possible to derive ought from is and to G. Moore's claim that there is a naturalistic fallacy when one tries to analyse "good" and "bad" in terms of a natural concept. In aesthetics, it has also been argued that it is impossible to derive an aesthetical predicate from a non-aesthetical one.
The acceptability of non-natural properties, however, is strongly debated in present-day philosophy. Some authors deny their existence, some others try to reduce them to natural ones, on which the former supervene. Other thinkers Adler, assert that norms can be natural in a different sense than that of "corresponding to something proceeding from the object of the prescription as a strictly internal source of action".
Rather, those who assert the existence of natural prescriptions say norms can suit a natural need on the part of the prescribed entity. More to the point, however, is the putting forward of the notion that just as descriptive statements being considered true are conditioned upon certain self-evident descriptive truths suiting the nature of reality such as: it is impossible for the same thing to be and not be at the same time and in the same manner , a prescriptive truth can suit the nature of the will through the authority of it being based upon self-evident prescriptive truths such as: one ought to desire what is really good for one and nothing else. Recent works maintain that normativity has an important role in several different philosophical subjects, not only in ethics and philosophy of law see Dancy, Philosophy of business The philosophy of business considers the fundamental principles that underlie the formation and operation of a business enterprise; the nature and purpose of a business, and the moral obligations that pertain to it.
Moral obligation The term moral obligation has a number of meanings in moral philosophy, in religion, and in layman's terms. Generally speaking, when someone says of an act that it is a "moral obligation," they refer to a belief that the act is one prescribed by their set of values. Obligation being a set code by which a person is to follow. Obligations can be found by an individual's peers that set a code that may go against the individual's own desires.
The individual will express their morality by the person following the set code s through seeing it as good to appease society. Ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The branch of philosophy axiology comprises the sub-branches of ethics and aesthetics, each concerned with values. As a branch of philosophy, ethics investigates the questions "What is the best way for people to live? As a field of intellectual enquiry, moral philosophy also is related to the fields of moral psychology, descriptive ethics, and value theory. Three major areas of study within ethics recognised today are: Meta-ethics, concerning the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, and how their truth values if any can be determined 1.
Normative ethics, concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action 2. Richard William Paul and Linda Elder define ethics as "a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures". The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy states that the word ethics is "commonly used interchangeably with 'morality' The word "ethics" in English refers to several things. It can refer to philosophical ethics or moral philosophy—a project that attempts to use reason in order to answer various kinds of ethical questions. As the English philosopher Bernard Williams writes, attempting to explain moral philosophy: "What makes an inquiry a philosophical one is reflective generality and a style of argument that claims to be rationally persuasive.
As bioethicist Larry Churchill has written: "Ethics, understood as the capacity to think critically about moral values and direct our actions in terms of such values, is a generic human capacity. For example: "Joe has strange ethics. A meta-ethical question is abstract and relates to a wide range of more specific practical questions. For example, "Is it ever possible to have secure knowledge of what is right and wrong? Meta-ethics has always accompanied philosophical ethics.
For example, Aristotle implies that less precise knowledge is possible in ethics than in other spheres of inquiry, and he regards ethical knowledge as depending upon habit and acculturation in a way that makes it distinctive from other kinds of knowledge. Meta-ethics is also important in G. Moore's Principia Ethica from In it he first wrote about what he called the naturalistic fallacy.
Moore was seen to reject naturalism in ethics, in his Open Question Argument. This made thinkers look again at second order questions about ethics. Earlier, the Scottish philosopher David Hume had put forward a similar view on the difference between facts and values. Studies of how we know in ethics divide into cognitivism and non- cognitivism; this is similar to the contrast between descriptivists and non-descriptivists. Non- cognitivism is the claim that when we judge something as right or wrong, this is neither true nor false. We may for example be only expressing our emotional feelings about these things. The ontology of ethics is about value-bearing things or properties, i. Non-descriptivists and non- cognitivists believe that ethics does not need a specific ontology, since ethical propositions do not refer.
This is known as an anti-realist position. Realists on the other hand must explain what kind of entities, properties or states are relevant for ethics, how they have value, and why they guide and motivate our actions. Normative ethics Normative ethics is the study of ethical action. It is the branch of ethics that investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how one ought to act, morally speaking. Normative ethics is distinct from meta-ethics because it examines standards for the rightness and wrongness of actions, while meta-ethics studies the meaning of moral language and the metaphysics of moral facts.
Normative ethics is also distinct from descriptive ethics, as the latter is an empirical investigation of people's moral beliefs. To put it another way, descriptive ethics would be concerned with determining what proportion of people believe that killing is always wrong, while normative ethics is concerned with whether it is correct to hold such a belief. However, on certain versions of the meta-ethical view called moral realism, moral facts are both descriptive and prescriptive at the same time. Traditionally, normative ethics also known as moral theory was the study of what makes actions right and wrong. These theories offered an overarching moral principle one could appeal to in resolving difficult moral decisions.
At the turn of the 20th century, moral theories became more complex and are no longer concerned solely with rightness and wrongness, but are interested in many different kinds of moral status. During the middle of the century, the study of normative ethics declined as meta-ethics grew in prominence. This focus on meta-ethics was in part caused by an intense linguistic focus in analytic philosophy and by the popularity of logical positivism. In John Rawls published A Theory of Justice, noteworthy in its pursuit of moral arguments and eschewing of meta-ethics. This publication set the trend for renewed interest in normative ethics.
Virtue ethics Virtue ethics describes the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior, and is used to describe the ethics of Socrates, Aristotle, and other early Greek philosophers. Socrates — BC was one of the first Greek philosophers to encourage both scholars and the common citizen to turn their attention from the outside world to the condition of humankind. In this view, knowledge bearing on human life was placed highest, while all other knowledge were secondary. Self-knowledge was considered necessary for success and inherently an essential good. A self-aware person will act completely within his capabilities to his pinnacle, while an ignorant person will flounder and encounter difficulty.
To Socrates, a person must become aware of every fact and its context relevant to his existence, if he wishes to attain self-knowledge. He posited that people will naturally do what is good, if they know what is right. Evil or bad actions are the result of ignorance. If a criminal was truly aware of the intellectual and spiritual consequences of his actions, he would neither commit nor even consider committing those actions. Any person who knows what is truly right will automatically do it, according to Socrates. While he correlated knowledge with virtue, he similarly equated virtue with joy. The truly wise man will know what is right, do what is good, and therefore be happy. Aristotle — BC posited an ethical system that may be termed "self-realizationism. At birth, a baby is not a person, but a potential person.
To become a "real" person, the child's inherent potential must be realized. Unhappiness and frustration are caused by the unrealized potential of a person, leading to failed goals and a poor life. Aristotle said, "Nature does nothing in vain. Happiness was held to be the ultimate goal. All other things, such as civic life or wealth, are merely means to the end. Self- realization, the awareness of one's nature and the development of one's talents, is the surest path to happiness. Physical nature can be assuaged through exercise and care, emotional nature through indulgence of instinct and urges, and mental through human reason and developed potential.
Rational development was considered the most important, as essential to philosophical self-awareness and as uniquely human. Moderation was encouraged, with the extremes seen as degraded and immoral. For example, courage is the moderate virtue between the extremes of cowardice and recklessness. This is regarded as difficult, as virtue denotes doing the right thing, to the right person, at the right time, to the proper extent, in the correct fashion, for the right reason. Stoicism The Stoic philosopher Epictetus posited that the greatest good was contentment and serenity. Peace of mind, or Apatheia, was of the highest value; self-mastery over one's desires and emotions leads to spiritual peace.
The "unconquerable will" is central to this philosophy. The individual's will should be independent and inviolate. Allowing a person to disturb the mental equilibrium is in essence offering yourself in slavery. If a person is free to anger you at will, you have no control over your internal world, and therefore no freedom. Freedom from material attachments is also necessary. If a thing breaks, the person should not be upset, but realize it was a thing that could break. Similarly, if someone should die, those close to them should hold to their serenity because the loved one was made of flesh and blood destined to death. Stoic philosophy says to accept things that cannot be changed, resigning oneself to existence and enduring in a rational fashion.
Death is not feared. People do not "lose" their life, but instead "return", for they are returning to God who initially gave what the person is as a person. Epictetus said difficult problems in life should not be avoided, but rather embraced. They are spiritual exercises needed for the health of the spirit, just as physical exercise is required for the health of the body. He also stated that sex and sexual desire are to be avoided as the greatest threat to the integrity and equilibrium of a man's mind.
Abstinence is highly desirable. Epictetus said remaining abstinent in the face of temptation was a victory for which a man could be proud. Contemporary virtue ethics Modern virtue ethics was popularized during the late 20th century in large part as a response to G. Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy". Anscombe argues that consequentialist and deontological ethics are only feasible as universal theories if the two schools ground themselves in divine law. As a deeply devoted Christian herself, Anscombe proposed that either those who do not give ethical credence to notions of divine law take up virtue ethics, which does not necessitate universal laws as agents themselves are investigated for virtue or vice and held up to "universal standards," or that those who wish to be utilitarian or consequentialist ground their theories in religious conviction.
Alasdair MacIntyre, who wrote the book After Virtue, was a key contributor and proponent of modern virtue ethics, although MacIntyre supports a relativistic account of virtue based on cultural norms, not objective standards. Martha Nussbaum, a contemporary virtue ethicist, objects to MacIntyre's relativism, among that of others, and responds to relativist objections to form an objective account in her work "Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach.
There are several schools of Hedonist thought ranging from those advocating the indulgence of even momentary desires to those teaching a pursuit of spiritual bliss. In their consideration of consequences, they range from those advocating self-gratification regardless of the pain and expense to others, to those stating that the most ethical pursuit maximizes pleasure and happiness for the most people. Cyrenaic hedonism Founded by Aristippus of Cyrene, Cyrenaics supported immediate gratification or pleasure.
There was little to no concern with the future, the present dominating in the pursuit for immediate pleasure. Cyrenaic hedonism encouraged the pursuit of enjoyment and indulgence without hesitation, believing pleasure to be the only good. Epicureanism Epicurean ethics is a hedonist form of virtue ethics. Epicurus "presented a sustained argument that pleasure, correctly understood, will coincide with virtue". He rejected the extremism of the Cyrenaics, believing some pleasures and indulgences to be detrimental to human beings.
Epicureans observed that indiscriminate indulgence sometimes resulted in negative consequences. Some experiences were therefore rejected out of hand, and some unpleasant experiences endured in the present to ensure a better life in the future. To Epicurus the summum bonum, or greatest good, was prudence, exercised through moderation and caution. Excessive indulgence can be destructive to pleasure and can even lead to pain. For example, eating one food too often will cause a person to lose taste for it. Eating too much food at once will lead to discomfort and ill-health.
Pain and fear were to be avoided. Living was essentially good, barring pain and illness. Death was not to be feared. Fear was considered the source of most unhappiness. Conquering the fear of death would naturally lead to a happier life. Epicurus reasoned if there was an afterlife and immortality, the fear of death was irrational. If there was no life after death, then the person would not be alive to suffer, fear or worry; he would be non- existent in death. It is irrational to fret over circumstances that do not exist, such as one's state in death in the absence of an afterlife. State consequentialism State consequentialism, also known as Mohist consequentialism, is an ethical theory that evaluates the moral worth of an action based on how much it contributes to the basic goods of a state.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes Mohist consequentialism, dating back to the 5th century BC, as "a remarkably sophisticated version based on a plurality of intrinsic goods taken as constitutive of human welfare. During Mozi's era, war and famines were common, and population growth was seen as a moral necessity for a harmonious society. The "material wealth" of Mohist consequentialism refers to basic needs like shelter and clothing, and the "order" of Mohist consequentialism refers to Mozi's stance against warfare and violence, which he viewed as pointless and a threat to social stability. Stanford sinologist David Shepherd Nivison, in The Cambridge History of Ancient China, writes that the moral goods of Mohism "are interrelated: more basic wealth, then more reproduction; more people, then more production and wealth The importance of outcomes that are good for the community outweigh the importance of individual pleasure and pain.
Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence. This view is often expressed as the aphorism "The ends justify the means". The term "consequentialism" was coined by G. Anscombe in her essay "Modern Moral Philosophy" in , to describe what she saw as the central error of certain moral theories, such as those propounded by Mill and Sidgwick. The defining feature of consequentialist moral theories is the weight given to the consequences in evaluating the rightness and wrongness of actions. In consequentialist theories, the consequences of an action or rule generally outweigh other considerations.
Apart from this basic outline, there is little else that can be unequivocally said about consequentialism as such. One way to divide various consequentialisms is by the types of consequences that are taken to matter most, that is, which consequences count as good states of affairs. According to utilitarianism, a good action is one that results in an increase in a positive effect, and the best action is one that results in that effect for the greatest number. Closely related is eudaimonic consequentialism, according to which a full, flourishing life, which may or may not be the same as enjoying a great deal of pleasure, is the ultimate aim. Similarly, one might adopt an aesthetic consequentialism, in which the ultimate aim is to produce beauty. However, one might fix on non-psychological goods as the relevant effect.
Thus, one might pursue an increase in material equality or political liberty instead of something like the more ephemeral "pleasure". Other theories adopt a package of several goods, all to be promoted equally. Whether a particular consequentialist theory focuses on a single good or many, conflicts and tensions between different good states of affairs are to be expected and must be adjudicated. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are influential proponents of this school of thought. In A Fragment on Government Bentham says 'it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong' and describes this as a fundamental axiom.
In An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation he talks of 'the principle of utility' but later prefers "the greatest happiness principle". Utilitarianism is the paradigmatic example of a consequentialist moral theory. This form of utilitarianism holds that what matters is the aggregate positive effect of everyone and not only of any one person. John Stuart Mill, in his exposition of utilitarianism, proposed a hierarchy of pleasures, meaning that the pursuit of certain kinds of pleasure is more highly valued than the pursuit of other pleasures.
Other noteworthy proponents of utilitarianism are neuroscientist Sam Harris, author of The Moral Landscape, and moral philosopher Peter Singer, author of, amongst other works, Practical Ethics. There are two types of utilitarianism, act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. In act utilitarianism the principle of utility is applied directly to each alternative act in a situation of choice. The right act is then defined as the one which brings about the best results or the least amount of bad results. In rule utilitarianism the principle of utility is used to determine the validity of rules of conduct moral principles. A rule like promise-keeping is established by looking at the consequences of a world in which people broke promises at will and a world in which promises were binding.
Right and wrong are then defined as following or breaking those rules. This is in contrast to consequentialism, in which rightness is based on the consequences of an act, and not the act by itself. In deontology, an act may be considered right even if the act produces a bad consequence, if it follows the rule that "one should do unto others as they would have done unto them", and even if the person who does the act lacks virtue and had a bad intention in doing the act.
According to deontology, we have a duty to act in a way that does those things that are inherently good as acts "truth-telling" for example , or follow an objectively obligatory rule as in rule utilitarianism. For deontologists, the ends or consequences of our actions are not important in and of themselves, and our intentions are not important in and of themselves. Immanuel Kant's theory of ethics is considered deontological for several different reasons. First, Kant argues that to act in the morally right way, people must act from duty deon. Second, Kant argued that it was not the consequences of actions that make them right or wrong but the motives maxime of the person who carries out the action.
Something is 'good in itself' when it is intrinsically good, and 'good without qualification' when the addition of that thing never makes a situation ethically worse. Kant then argues that those things that are usually thought to be good, such as intelligence, perseverance and pleasure, fail to be either intrinsically good or good without qualification. Pleasure, for example, appears to not be good without qualification, because when people take pleasure in watching someone suffer, they make the situation ethically worse. He concludes that there is only one thing that is truly good:Nothing in the world—indeed nothing even beyond the world—can possibly be conceived which could be called good without qualification except a good will.
Pragmatic ethics Associated with the pragmatists, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and especially John Dewey, pragmatic ethics holds that moral correctness evolves similarly to scientific knowledge: socially over the course of many lifetimes. Thus, we should prioritize social reform over attempts to account for consequences, individual virtue or duty although these may be worthwhile attempts, provided social reform is provided for. Role ethics Role ethics is an ethical theory based on family roles. Unlike virtue ethics, role ethics is not individualistic. Morality is derived from a person's relationship with their community. Confucian roles center around the concept of filial piety or xiao, a respect for family members.
Confucian roles are not rational, and originate through the xin, or human emotions. Anarchist ethics Anarchist ethics is an ethical theory based on the studies of anarchist thinkers. The biggest contributor to the anarchist ethics is the Russian zoologist, geographer, economist and political activist Peter Kropotkin. Kropotkin argues that Ethics is evolutionary and is inherited as a sort of a social instinct through History, and by so, he rejects any religious and transcendental explanation of ethics.
Kropotkin suggests that the principle of equality which lies at the basis of anarchism is the same as the Golden rule:This principle of treating others as one wishes to be treated oneself, what is it but the very same principle as equality, the fundamental principle of anarchism? And how can any one manage to believe himself an anarchist unless he practices it? We do not wish to be ruled. And by this very fact, do we not declare that we ourselves wish to rule nobody? And by this very fact, do we not de- clare that we ourselves do not wish to deceive anybody, that we promise to always tell the truth, nothing but the truth, the whole truth? We do not wish to have the fruits of our labor stolen from us.
And by that very fact, do we not declare that we respect the fruits of others' labor? By what right indeed can we demand that we should be treated in one fashion, reserving it to ourselves to treat others in a fashion entirely different? Our sense of equality revolts at such an idea. Antihumanists such as Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault and structuralists such as Roland Barthes challenged the possibilities of individual agency and the coherence of the notion of the 'individual' itself.
As critical theory developed in the later 20th century, post-structuralism sought to problematize human relationships to knowledge and 'objective' reality. Jacques Derrida argued that access to meaning and the 'real' was always deferred, and sought to demonstrate via recourse to the linguistic realm that "there is nothing outside context" "il n'y a pas de hors-texte" is often mistranslated as "there is nothing outside the text" ; at the same time, Jean Baudrillard theorised that signs and symbols or simulacra mask reality and eventually the absence of reality itself , particularly in the consumer world. Post-structuralism and postmodernism argue that ethics must study the complex and relational conditions of actions. A simple alignment of ideas of right and particular acts is not possible.
There will always be an ethical remainder that cannot be taken into account or often even recognized. Such theorists find narrative or, following Nietzsche and Foucault, genealogy to be a helpful tool for understanding ethics because narrative is always about particular lived experiences in all their complexity rather than the assignment of an idea or norm to separate and individuated actions. Zygmunt Bauman says Postmodernity is best described as Modernity without illusion, the illusion being the belief that humanity can be repaired by some ethic principle.
Postmodernity can be seen in this light as accepting the messy nature of humanity as unchangeable. David Couzens Hoy states that Emmanuel Levinas's writings on the face of the Other and Derrida's meditations on the relevance of death to ethics are signs of the "ethical turn" in Continental philosophy that occurred in the s and s. Hoy describes post-critique ethics as the "obligations that present themselves as necessarily to be fulfilled but are neither forced on one or are enforceable" , p. Hoy's post-critique model uses the term ethical resistance. Examples of this would be an individual's resistance to consumerism in a retreat to a simpler but perhaps harder lifestyle, or an individual's resistance to a terminal illness. Hoy describes Levinas's account as "not the attempt to use power against itself, or to mobilize sectors of the population to exert their political power; the ethical resistance is instead the resistance of the powerless.
Hoy concludes that; The ethical resistance of the powerless others to our capacity to exert power over them is therefore what imposes unenforceable obligations on us. The obligations are unenforceable precisely because of the other's lack of power. Those actions are at once obligatory and at the same time unenforceable is what put them in the category of the ethical. Obligations that were enforced would, by the virtue of the force behind them, not be freely undertaken and would not be in the realm of the ethical.
In present-day terms the powerless may include the unborn, the terminally sick, the aged, and the insane and non-human animals. Until legislation or the state apparatus enforces a moral order that addresses the causes of resistance these issues will remain in the ethical realm. For example, should animal experimentation become illegal in a society, it will no longer be an ethical issue on Hoy's definition. Likewise one hundred and fifty years ago, not having a black slave in America would have been an ethical choice. This later issue has been absorbed into the fabric of an enforceable social order and is therefore no longer an ethical issue in Hoy's sense.
Applied ethics Applied ethics is a discipline of philosophy that attempts to apply ethical theory to real-life situations. The discipline has many specialized fields, such as engineering ethics, bioethics, geoethics, public service ethics and business ethics. Applied ethics is used in some aspects of determining public policy, as well as by individuals facing difficult decisions. The sort of questions addressed by applied ethics include: "Is getting an abortion immoral?
But not all questions studied in applied ethics concern public policy. For example, making ethical judgments regarding questions such as, "Is lying always wrong? People in-general are more comfortable with dichotomies two opposites. However, in ethics the issues are most often multifaceted and the best proposed actions address many different areas concurrently. In ethical decisions the answer is almost never a "yes or no", "right or wrong" statement. Many buttons are pushed so that the overall condition is improved and not to the benefit of any particular faction. Particular fields of application Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine.
Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy. It also includes the study of the more commonplace questions of values "the ethics of the ordinary" that arise in primary care and other branches of medicine. Bioethics also needs to address emerging biotechnologies that affect basic biology and future humans. These developments include cloning, gene therapy, human genetic engineering, astroethics and life in space, and manipulation of basic biology through altered DNA, RNA and proteins,e.
Correspondingly, new bioethics also need to address life at its core. With such life-centered principles, ethics may secure a cosmological future for life. Business ethics has both normative and descriptive dimensions. For example, today most major corporations promote their commitment to non-economic values under headings such as ethics codes and social responsibility charters. Machine ethics In Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong, Wendell Wallach and Colin Allen conclude that issues in machine ethics will likely drive advancement in understanding of human ethics by forcing us to address gaps in modern normative theory and by providing a platform for experimental investigation.
The effort to actually program a machine or artificial agent to behave as though instilled with a sense of ethics requires new specificity in our normative theories, especially regarding aspects customarily considered common-sense. For example, machines, unlike humans, can support a wide selection of learning algorithms, and controversy has arisen over the relative ethical merits of these options. This may reopen classic debates of normative ethics framed in new highly technical terms. Military ethics Military ethics are concerned with questions regarding the application of force and the ethos of the soldier and are often understood as applied professional ethics.
Just war theory is generally seen to set the background terms of military ethics. However individual countries and traditions have different fields of attention. Military ethics involves multiple subareas, including the following among others: 1. Political ethics Political ethics also known as political morality or public ethics is the practice of making moral judgements about political action and political agents.
Public sector ethics Public sector ethics is a set of principles that guide public officials in their service to their constituents, including their decision-making on behalf of their constituents. Fundamental to the concept of public sector ethics is the notion that decisions and actions are based on what best serves the public's interests, as opposed to the official's personal interests including financial interests or self-serving political interests. Publication ethics Publication ethics is the set of principles that guide the writing and publishing process for all professional publications. In order to follow the set of principles, authors should verify that the publication does not contain plagiarism or publication bias.
It is the obligation of the editor of the journal to ensure the article does not contain any plagiarism before it is published. If a publication which has already been published is proven to contain plagiarism, then the editor of the journal can proceed to have the article retracted. Publication bias occurs when the publication is one-sided or "prejudiced against results". In best practice, an author should try to include information from all parties involved, or affected by the topic. If an author is prejudiced against certain results, than it can "lead to erroneous conclusions being drawn.
Falsely recorded information occurs when the researcher "fakes" information or data, which was not used when conducting the actual experiment. By faking the data, the researcher can alter the results from the experiment to better fit the hypothesis they originally predicted. When conducting medical research, it is important to honor the healthcare rights of a patient by protecting their anonymity in the publication.
Relational ethics Relational ethics are related to an ethics of care. They are used in qualitative research, especially ethnography and autoethnography. Researchers who employ relational ethics value and respect the connection between themselves and the people they study, and "between researchers and the communities in which they live and work" Ellis, , p. Relational ethics also help researchers understand difficult issues such as conducting research on intimate others that have died and developing friendships with their participants. Relational ethics in close personal relationships form a central concept of contextual therapy.
Some use the term "moral psychology" relatively narrowly to refer to the study of moral development. However, others tend to use the term more broadly to include any topics at the intersection of ethics and psychology and philosophy of mind. Such topics are ones that involve the mind and are relevant to moral issues. Some of the main topics of the field are moral responsibility, moral development, moral character especially as related to virtue ethics , altruism, psychological egoism, moral luck, and moral disagreement. Evolutionary ethics Evolutionary ethics concerns approaches to ethics morality based on the role of evolution in shaping human psychology and behavior. Such approaches may be based in scientific fields such as evolutionary psychology or sociobiology, with a focus on understanding and explaining observed ethical preferences and choices.
Descriptive ethics Descriptive ethics is on the less philosophical end of the spectrum, since it seeks to gather particular information about how people live and draw general conclusions based on observed patterns. Abstract and theoretical questions that are more clearly philosophical—such as, "Is ethical knowledge possible? Descriptive ethics offers a value-free approach to ethics, which defines it as a social science rather than a humanity.
Its examination of ethics doesn't start with a preconceived theory, but rather investigates observations of actual choices made by moral agents in practice. Some philosophers rely on descriptive ethics and choices made and unchallenged by a society or culture to derive categories, which typically vary by context. This can lead to situational ethics and situated ethics.
These philosophers often view aesthetics, etiquette, and arbitration as more fundamental, percolating "bottom up" to imply the existence of, rather than explicitly prescribe, theories of value or of conduct. Some consider aesthetics itself the basis of ethics— and a personal moral core developed through art and storytelling as very influential in one's later ethical choices. Some consider etiquette a simple negative ethics, i. One notable advocate of this view is Judith Martin "Miss Manners".
According to this view, ethics is more a summary of common sense social decisions. This is a major concern of sociology, political science, and economics. Meta-ethics Meta-ethics is the branch of ethics that seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties, statements, attitudes, and judgments. Meta-ethics is one of the four branches of ethics generally recognized by philosophers, the others being descriptive ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics. While normative ethics addresses such questions as "What should I do? Some theorists argue that a metaphysical account of morality is necessary for the proper evaluation of actual moral theories and for making practical moral decisions; others reason from opposite premises and suggest that we must impart ideas of moral intuition onto proper action before we can give a proper account of morality's metaphysics.
Meta-ethical questions According to Richard Garner and Bernard Rosen, there are three kinds of meta-ethical problems, or three general questions: 1. What is the meaning of moral terms or judgments? Moral semantics 2. What is the nature of moral judgments? Moral ontology 3. How may moral judgments be supported or defended? Moral epistemology A question of the first type might be, "What do the words 'good', 'bad', 'right' and 'wrong' mean?
The second category includes questions of whether moral judgments are universal or relative, of one kind or many kinds, etc. Questions of the third kind ask, for example, how we can know if something is right or wrong, if at all. Garner and Rosen say that answers to the three basic questions "are not unrelated, and sometimes an answer to one will strongly suggest, or perhaps even entail, an answer to another.
An answer to any of the three example questions above would not itself be a normative ethical statement. Semantic theories These theories mainly put forward a position on the first of the three questions above, "What is the meaning of moral terms or judgments? Cognitivist theories hold that evaluative moral sentences express propositions that is, they are "truth apt" or "truth bearers", capable of being true or false , as opposed to non-cognitivism.
Most forms of cognitivism hold that some such propositions are true, as opposed to error theory, which asserts that all are erroneous. Meta-ethical theories are commonly categorized as either a form of realism or as one of three forms of "anti-realism" regarding moral facts: ethical subjectivism, error theory, or non-cognitivism. Realism comes in two main varieties: Ethical naturalism holds that there are objective moral properties and that these properties are reducible or stand in some metaphysical relation such as supervenience to entirely non-ethical properties. Most ethical naturalists hold that we have empirical knowledge of moral truths. Ethical naturalism was implicitly assumed by many modern ethical theorists, particularly utilitarians.
Ethical non-naturalism, as put forward by G. Moore, holds that there are objective and irreducible moral properties such as the property of 'goodness' , and that we sometimes have intuitive or otherwise a priori awareness of moral properties or of moral truths. Moore's open question argument against what he considered the naturalistic fallacy was largely responsible for the birth of meta-ethical research in contemporary analytic philosophy. Ethical subjectivism is one form of moral anti-realism. Most forms of ethical subjectivism are relativist, but there are notable forms that are universalist: Ideal observer theory holds that what is right is determined by the attitudes that a hypothetical ideal observer would have.
An ideal observer is usually characterized as a being who is perfectly rational, imaginative, and informed, among other things. Though a subjectivist theory due to its reference to a particular albeit hypothetical subject, Ideal Observer Theory still purports to provide universal answers to moral questions. Divine command theory holds that for a thing to be right is for a unique being, God, to approve of it, and that what is right for non-God beings is obedience to the divine will. This view was criticized by Plato in the Euthyphro see the Euthyphro problem but retains some modern defenders Robert Adams, Philip Quinn, and others.
Error theory, another form of moral anti-realism, holds that although ethical claims do express propositions, all such propositions are false. Thus, both the statement "Murder is morally wrong" and the statement "Murder is morally permissible" are false, according to error theory. Mackie is probably the best-known proponent of this view. Since error theory denies that there are moral truths, error theory entails moral nihilism and, thus, moral skepticism; however, neither moral nihilism nor moral skepticism conversely entail error theory.
Non-cognitivist theories hold that ethical sentences are neither true nor false because they do not express genuine propositions. Non-cognitivism is another form of moral anti-realism. Emotivism, defended by A. Ayer and Charles Stevenson, holds that ethical sentences serve merely to express emotions. Ayer argues that ethical sentences are expressions of approval or disapproval, not assertions. So "Killing is wrong" means something like "Boo on killing! Quasi-realism, defended by Simon Blackburn, holds that ethical statements behave linguistically like factual claims and can be appropriately called "true" or "false", even though there are no ethical facts for them to correspond to.
Projectivism and moral fictionalism are related theories. Universal prescriptivism, defended by R. Hare, holds that moral statements function like universalized imperative sentences. So "Killing is wrong" means something like "Don't kill! Centralism and non-centralism Yet another way of categorizing meta-ethical theories is to distinguish between centralist and non-centralist theories. The debate between centralism and non-centralism revolves around the relationship between the so-called "thin" and "thick" concepts of morality. Thin moral concepts are those such as good, bad, right, and wrong; thick moral concepts are those such as courageous, inequitable, just, or dishonest. While both sides agree that the thin concepts are more general and the thick more specific, centralists hold that the thin concepts are antecedent to the thick ones and that the latter are therefore dependent on the former.
That is, centralists argue that one must understand words like "right" and "ought" before understanding words like "just" and "unkind. Non-centralism has been of particular importance to ethical naturalists in the late 20th and early 21st centuries as part of their argument that normativity is a non-excisable aspect of language and that there is no way of analyzing thick moral concepts into a purely descriptive element attached to a thin moral evaluation, thus undermining any fundamental division between facts and norms. Allan Gibbard, R. Substantial theories These theories attempt to answer the second of the above questions: "What is the nature of moral judgments? Moral universalism or universal morality is the meta-ethical position that some system of ethics, or a universal ethic, applies universally, that is to all people regardless of culture, race, sex, religion, nationality, sexuality, or other distinguishing feature.
The source or justification of this system may be thought to be, for instance, human nature, shared vulnerability to suffering, the demands of universal reason, what is common among existing moral codes, or the common mandates of religion although it can be argued that the latter is not in fact moral universalism because it may distinguish between Gods and mortals.
Moral universalism is the opposing position to various forms of moral relativism. Universalist theories are generally forms of moral realism, though exceptions exists, such as the subjectivist ideal observer and divine command theories, and the non-cognitivist universal prescriptivism of R. Value monism is the common form of universalism, which holds that all goods are commensurable on a single value scale. Value pluralism contends that there are two or more genuine scales of value, knowable as such, yet incommensurable, so that any prioritization of these values is either non-cognitive or subjective.
A value pluralist might, for example, contend that both a life as a nun and a life as a mother realize genuine values in a universalist sense , yet they are incompatible nuns may not have children , and there is no purely rational way to measure which is preferable. A notable proponent of this view is Isaiah Berlin. Moral relativism maintains that all moral judgments have their origins either in societal or in individual standards, and that no single objective standard exists by which one can assess the truth of a moral proposition. Meta-ethical relativists, in general, believe that the descriptive properties of terms such as "good", "bad", "right", and "wrong" do not stand subject to universal truth conditions, but only to societal convention and personal preference.
Given the same set of verifiable facts, some societies or individuals will have a fundamental disagreement about what one ought to do based on societal or individual norms, and one cannot adjudicate these using some independent standard of evaluation. The latter standard will always be societal or personal and not universal, unlike, for example, the scientific standards for assessing temperature or for determining mathematical truths. Some philosophers maintain that moral relativism entails non- cognitivism.
Some but not all relativist theories are forms of moral subjectivism, although not all subjectivist theories are relativistic. Moral nihilism, also known as ethical nihilism, is the meta-ethical view that nothing is morally preferable to anything else. For example, a moral nihilist would say that killing someone, for whatever reason, is neither morally right nor morally wrong. Moral nihilism must be distinguished from moral relativism, which does allow for moral statements to be true or false in a non-universal sense, but does not assign any static truth-values to moral statements. Insofar as only true statements can be known, moral nihilists are moral skeptics. Justification theories These are theories that attempt to answer questions like, "How may moral judgments be supported or defended?
Most moral epistemologies, of course, posit that moral knowledge is somehow possible, as opposed to moral skepticism. Amongst them, there are those who hold that moral knowledge is gained inferentially on the basis of some sort of non-moral epistemic process, as opposed to ethical intuitionism. Empiricism is the doctrine that knowledge is gained primarily through observation and experience. Meta-ethical theories that imply an empirical epistemology include ethical naturalism, which holds moral facts to be reducible to non-moral facts and thus knowable in the same ways; and most common forms of ethical subjectivism, which hold that moral facts reduce to facts about individual opinions or cultural conventions and thus are knowable by observation of those conventions.
There are exceptions within subjectivism however, such as ideal observer theory, which implies that moral facts may be known through a rational process, and individualist ethical subjectivism, which holds that moral facts are merely personal opinions and so may be known only through introspection. Empirical arguments for ethics run into the is- ought problem, which assert that the way the world is cannot alone instruct people how they ought to act.
Moral rationalism, also called ethical rationalism, is the view according to which moral truths or at least general moral principles are knowable a priori, by reason alone. Some prominent figures in the history of philosophy who have defended moral rationalism are Plato and Immanuel Kant. Perhaps the most prominent figures in the history of philosophy who have rejected moral rationalism are David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche. Recent philosophers who defended moral rationalism include R. A moral rationalist may adhere to any number of different semantic theories as well; moral realism is compatible with rationalism, and the subjectivist ideal observer theory and noncognitivist universal prescriptivism both entail it. Ethical intuitionism, on the other hand, is the view according to which some moral truths can be known without inference.
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