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pierredv : morality   42

A Social Imagination - review by Dennis O'Brien of Charles Taylor,Dilemmas and Connections, Dec 2001
Dilemmas and Connections is a collection of 16 essays by the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. Most have been or are about to be published in various places, and four appear for the first time.
For Taylor, philosophy ultimately emerges as commentary on the social imaginary. A notable expositor of Hegel, he might agree with the latter’s dictum: “The Owl of Minerva first takes flight at twilight.”
Charles-Taylor  social-imaginary  morality  books  reviews  quotations 
june 2019 by pierredv
(78) Ethical Dilemmas in Early Buddhism? - YouTube - Doug's Secular Dharma
We'll look at ethical dilemmas and their role in western systems of ethics, then turn to Buddhism and ask whether such dilemmas play any role at all. Then we'll turn to some classic dilemmas and ask how they might be treated in an early Buddhist context.
morality  ethics  Buddhism  video  YouTube 
april 2019 by pierredv
How Tech Utopia Fostered Tyranny - The New Atlantis -Winter 2019
"Authoritarians’ love for digital technology is no fluke — it’s a product of Silicon Valley’s “smart” paternalism"

"ools based on the premise that access to information will only enlighten us and social connectivity will only make us more humane have instead fanned conspiracy theories, information bubbles, and social fracture. A tech movement spurred by visions of libertarian empowerment and progressive uplift has instead fanned a global resurgence of populism and authoritarianism."

"But what we are searching for — what we desire — is often shaped by what we are exposed to and what we believe others desire. And so predicting what is useful, however value-neutral this may sound, can shade into deciding what is useful, both to individual users and to groups, and thereby shaping what kinds of people we become, for both better and worse."

"As long as our desires are unsettled and malleable — as long as we are human — the engineering choices of Google and the rest must be as much acts of persuasion as of prediction."

"Each company was founded on a variation of the premise that providing more people with more information and better tools, and helping them connect with each other, would help them lead better, freer, richer lives."

"Moreover, because algorithms are subject to strategic manipulation and because they are attempting to provide results unique to you, the choices shaping these powerful defaults are necessarily hidden away by platforms demanding you simply trust them"

"We can see the shift from “access to tools” to algorithmic utopianism in the unheralded, inexorable replacement of the “page” by the “feed.” "

"By consuming what the algorithm says I want, I trust the algorithm to make me ever more who it thinks I already am."

"What’s shocking isn’t that technological development is a two-edged sword. It’s that the power of these technologies is paired with a stunning apathy among their creators about who might use them and how. Google employees have recently declared that helping the Pentagon with a military AI program is a bridge too far, convincing the company to cancel a $10 billion contract. But at the same time, Google, Apple, and Microsoft, committed to the ideals of open-source software and collaboration toward technological progress, have published machine-learning tools for anyone to use, including agents provocateur and revenge pornographers."

"They and their successors, based on optimistic assumptions about human nature, built machines to maximize those naturally good human desires. But, to use a line from Bruno Latour, “technology is society made durable.” That is, to extend Latour’s point, technology stabilizes in concrete form what societies already find desirable."
politics  surveillance  technology  TheNewAtlantis  Google  Facebook  AI  prediction  ethics  morality  search  trust  behavior 
april 2019 by pierredv
Hume on Is and Ought | Issue 83 | Philosophy Now
"Hume’s idea seems to be that you cannot deduce moral conclusions, featuring moral words such as ‘ought’, from non-moral premises, that is premises from which the moral words are absent. The passage is summed up in the slogan ‘No-Ought-From-Is’ (or NOFI for short) and for many people it represents the take-home message of Hume’s moral philosophy. It is sometimes rather grandly referred to as Hume’s Law. But what exactly did he mean by it? Why did he think that his observation would ‘subvert all the vulgar systems of morality’? Is NOFI (or something like it) true? And what are the philosophical consequences?"
philosophy  morality  ethics 
november 2018 by pierredv
Self-driving car dilemmas reveal that moral choices are not universal - Nature, Oct 2018
"The largest ever survey of machine ethics1, published today in Nature, finds that many of the moral principles that guide a driver’s decisions vary by country. For example, in a scenario in which some combination of pedestrians and passengers will die in a collision, people from relatively prosperous countries with strong institutions were less likely to spare a pedestrian who stepped into traffic illegally."
NatureJournal  ethics  AI  morality  automobile 
october 2018 by pierredv
The Perils of Empathy - WSJ, Paul Bloom, Dec 2016
Dr. Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. This essay is adapted from his new book, “Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion,” which will be published next week by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins (which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp).

Appeared in the December 3, 2016, print edition as 'The Empathy Trap.'
psychology  morality  empathy  WSJ 
july 2018 by pierredv
Culture clash: Why are some societies strict and others lax? | Ne, Apr 2018w Scientist
Article on tightness/looseness as a way of categorizing societies

"Starting in the 1960s, [Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede] developed a model for understanding cross-cultural differences based on six dimensions (see “Six degrees of separation”). Since then, one of his metrics, individualism/collectivism, has attracted considerable interest and proved useful in explaining cultural differences, especially those epitomised by typically Western or Eastern modes of thought. But [cultural psychologist Michele] Gelfand believes the focus has been too narrow, and that tightness/looseness is a neglected source of cultural variation that has a huge influence on our behaviour – “a Rosetta stone for human groups”, she says."

"[Gelfand] suspected that tightness is determined by the level of external threat to which a society was exposed historically – whether ecological, such as earthquakes or scarce natural resources, or human-made, such as war. “Tightness is about the need for coordination,” she says. “The idea is that if you are chronically faced with these kinds of threats, you develop strong rules in order to coordinate for survival.”"

"But it doesn’t end there. Gelfand and her colleagues found that the degree of tightness was reflected in all sorts of societal institutions and practices – even after taking national wealth into consideration. Tight societies tend to be more autocratic, with greater media censorship and fewer collective actions such as demonstrations. They are also more conformist and religious, and have more police, lower crime and divorce rates, and cleaner public spaces. ... Loose societies tend to be more disorganised, but also more creative, innovative and tolerant of diversity."
NewScientist  culture  psychology  morality  Geography 
june 2018 by pierredv
The inequality delusion: Why we've got the wealth gap all wrong | New Scientist, 31 Mar 2018; Mark Sheskin
"There are staggering levels of inequality in the world, and wide agreement that these should be reduced. But we should aspire to fair inequality, not unfair equality."
cognition  culture  NewScientist  equality  fairness  economics  morality  ethics 
june 2018 by pierredv
More empathy isn't the right prescription to heal the planet | New Scientist, Paul Bloom, issue 3111, 4 Feb 2017
"I JUST wrote a book called Against Empathy, ..."

"One issue is that people use the term empathy differently; if seen as synonymous with kindness and altruism, it seems hard to object to. But what about when we mean the capacity to share others’ feelings? This has its upsides, but as a guide for moral and political decisions, it is a train wreck. Empathy makes the world worse."

1. biased ("relatively easy to put yourself in the shoes of someone close... But empathy for your enemies [is] a lot less natural")

2. zooms in on the individual

3. malleable ("can be abused to sway people into backing all sorts of positions, including cruel ones")
empathy  compassion  NewScientist  morality  politics 
june 2017 by pierredv
Is Your Big Data Project a “Weapon of Math Destruction”? - IEEE Spectrum - Oct 2016
"But amid all the excitement, we’re beginning to see hints that our nice, tidy algorithms and predictive models might be prone to the same shortcomings that the humans who create them are. Take, for example, the revelation that Google disproportionately served ads for high-paying jobs to men rather than women. And there’s the troubling recent discovery that a criminal risk assessment score disproportionately flagged many African Americans as higher risk, sometimes resulting in longer prison sentences."

"One of the things that makes big data so attractive is the assumption that it’s eliminating human subjectivity and bias. After all, you’re basing everything on hard numbers from the real world, right? Wrong. Predictive models and algorithms, says author Cathy O’Neil, are really just “opinions embedded in math.” "
AI  algorithms  morality  ethics  values  books  interviews 
october 2016 by pierredv
People Want Driverless Cars with Utilitarian Ethics, Unless They're a Passenger - IEEE Spectrum June 2016
"At some point in the nearer-than-might-be-comfortable future, an autonomous vehicle (AV) will find itself in a situation where something has gone wrong, and it has two options: either it can make a maneuver that will keep its passenger safe while putting a pedestrian at risk, or it can make a different maneuver that will keep the pedestrian safe while putting its passenger at risk. What an AV does in situations like these will depend on how it’s been programmed: in other words, what ethical choice its software tells it to make."
"When confronted with situations where enforcing individual behavior leads to a better global outcome, it’s often necessary for regulators to get involved. The researchers offer vaccines as an example: nobody really wants to get stuck with a needle, but if everybody does it, we’re all better off. In the context of driverless cars, this means that given the option, most people would choose to ride in or buy an AV that prioritizes their own personal safety above the safety of others, and consequently, car companies will be incentivized to sell cars programmed this way, which is why regulation might be necessary to achieve utilitarian ethics. "
IEEE-Spectrum  automation  ethics  morality  utilitarianism  driverless-cars  transportation  autonomous-vehicle  regulation 
july 2016 by pierredv
There's No Such Thing as Free Will - The Atlantic - Stephen Cave - June 2016
Survey of research, experiments, philosophy
"The 20th-century nature-nurture debate prepared us to think of ourselves as shaped by influences beyond our control. But it left some room, at least in the popular imagination, for the possibility that we could overcome our circumstances or our genes to become the author of our own destiny. The challenge posed by neuroscience is more radical: It describes the brain as a physical system like any other, and suggests that we no more will it to operate in a particular way than we will our heart to beat. "
"This research and its implications are not new. What is new, though, is the spread of free-will skepticism beyond the laboratories and into the mainstream."
"his development raises uncomfortable—and increasingly nontheoretical—questions: If moral responsibility depends on faith in our own agency, then as belief in determinism spreads, will we become morally irresponsible? And if we increasingly see belief in free will as a delusion, what will happen to all those institutions that are based on it?"
<experiments by Kathleen Vohs and Jonathan Schooler; Roy Baumeister>
<philosophers Saul Smilansky, Bruce Waller>
"Smilansky is convinced that free will does not exist in the traditional sense—and that it would be very bad if most people realized this. . . . And just as undermining blame would remove an obstacle to acting wickedly, so undermining praise would remove an incentive to do good. . . . Smilansky advocates a view he calls illusionism—the belief that free will is indeed an illusion, but one that society must defend. The idea of determinism, and the facts supporting it, must be kept confined within the ivory tower. . . Illusionism is a minority position among academic philosophers, most of whom still hope that the good and the true can be reconciled. But it represents an ancient strand of thought among intellectual elites."
<neuroscientist and writer Sam Harris, author of Free Will (2012)>
"Harris thinks that, in time, “it might be possible to cure something like psychopathy,” but only if we accept that the brain, and not some airy-fairy free will, is the source of the deviancy. Accepting this would also free us from hatred. Holding people responsible for their actions might sound like a keystone of civilized life, but we pay a high price for it: Blaming people makes us angry and vengeful, and that clouds our judgment. . . Whereas the evidence from Kathleen Vohs and her colleagues suggests that social problems may arise from seeing our own actions as determined by forces beyond our control—weakening our morals, our motivation, and our sense of the meaningfulness of life—Harris thinks that social benefits will result from seeing other people’s behavior in the very same light. "
"For Waller, it simply doesn’t matter that these processes are underpinned by a causal chain of firing neurons. In his view, free will and determinism are not the opposites they are often taken to be; they simply describe our behavior at different levels."
"The kind of will that leads to success—seeing positive options for oneself, making good decisions and sticking to them—can be cultivated, and those at the bottom of society are most in need of that cultivation."
free-will  determinism  psychology  philosophy  theAtlantic  morality  poverty 
june 2016 by pierredv
Ethereum Developer Explores the Dark Side of Bitcoin-Inspired Technology - IEEE Spectrum
"Ethereum is one of the projects bringing this technology to the masses. It provides a user-friendly platform for deploying software onto a blockchain network. Vlad Zamfir has been working on refining the protocols that will ensure that the Ethereum network can be scaled up. Most of the people developing similar systems speak with unqualified exhilaration about blockchain technology’s disruptive ­potential: They tout censor-proof social media tools, automated microlending apps, and government-independent identity verification, to name just a few examples. But, in his moments of greatest doubt, Zamfir finds the resulting loss of societal control terrifying. He spoke with IEEE Spectrum about the darker potential of public blockchains, what can be done to keep the technology an engine for social good, and why he still thinks the benefits outweigh the risks."
IEEE-Spectrum  Ethereum  blockchain  institutions  Vlad-Zamfir  bitcoin  ethics  morality 
june 2016 by pierredv
Morality 2.0: How manipulating our minds could save the world - New Scientist Sep 2015
“Morality is a device for solving the social challenges of everyday life, where the basic problem is to get otherwise selfish individuals to work together as a group and enjoy the benefits of cooperation,” says Joshua Greene, a neuroscientist at Harvard University.

So here’s the question: is auto-mode moral decision-making, which evolved to navigate small-scale social worlds, suited to handling issues that impact millions of distant strangers and future generations? Greene thinks not. “These are very good at solving the problems of everyday life, but not global moral problems like environmental destruction or poverty in faraway places”.

“We can use manual mode to train automatic mode,” says Fiery Cushman, ...

However, harnessing the power of rational reflection, collective identity and shame may not be the only options for would-be moral revolutionaries. In their book Unfit for the Future, philosophers Ingmar Persson of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and Julian Savulescu of the University of Oxford argue that our moral brains are so compromised that the only way we can avoid catastrophe is to enhance them through biomedical means.
NewScientist  morality 
april 2016 by pierredv
The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work - Phillip Rogaway, Dec 2015
Abstract: Cryptography rearranges power: it configures who can do what, from what. This makes cryptography an inherently political tool, and it confers on the field an intrinsically moral dimension. The Snowden revelations motivate a reassessment of the political and moral positioning of cryptography. They lead one to ask if our inability to effectively address mass surveillance constitutes a failure of our field. I believe that it does. I call for a community-wide effort to develop more effective means to resist mass surveillance. I plead for a reinvention of our disciplinary culture to attend not only to puzzles and math, but, also, to the societal implications of our work.
morality  cryptography 
april 2016 by pierredv
Morality is rooted in the way societies get their energy - opinion - 20 April 2015 - Control - New Scientist
foraging values: a fair world is where everyone is treated more or less the same, Gini 0.25 farming values: different individuals treated differently, hierarchy is fair, Gini 0.48 fossil-fuel values: political, economic and gender inequalities are bad, Gini 0.26 - function of how much energy consumed per person
NewScientist  morality  ethics  evolution  foraging  farming  Gini-coefficient  values  Ian-Morris 
june 2015 by pierredv
Hannah Arendt: thinking versus evil | Features | Times Higher Education - Jon Nixon Feb 2015
"Jon Nixon asks what Arendt’s work can tell us about the value of universities as places of thinking together"
essays  Hannah-Arendt  education  thought  8  morality  ethics  philosophy  * 
april 2015 by pierredv
The Moral Bucket List - David Brooks - The New York Times
"It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues." - "So a few years ago I set out to discover how those deeply good people got that way."
David-Brooks  morality  opinion  NYTimes 
april 2015 by pierredv
Most violence arises from morality, not the lack of it - www.newscientist.com Opinion
"Contrary to popular perception, people are rarely violent simply because they lose control and fail to think about right and wrong. They rarely commit violence because they lack empathy and fail to see their victims as fully human. And almost no one is violent because they draw sadistic pleasure from the suffering of others. Across cultures and history, there is generally one motive for hurting or killing: people are violent because it feels like the right thing to do. They feel morally obliged to do it." "In short, most violence is morally motivated to create, conduct, protect, redress, terminate or mourn crucial relationships, according to the cultural norms of the group that people belong to." "we must reorient potential perpetrators to find non-violent ways to regulate their relationships. Moreover, we must make perpetrators know that their violent actions will violate their relationships with people they care about. "
NewScientist  opinion  violence  morality  ethics  ** 
april 2015 by pierredv
25Sep14: Multiverse me: Should I care about my other selves? New Scientist #2988
Very well written discussion of moral-philosophical implications of multiple universes, quoting Tegmark and Deutsch
NewScientist  cosmology  quantum-mechanics  philosophy  physics  religion  morality  parallel.universes  multiverse  probability  risk  *  ethics 
november 2014 by pierredv
The public and private ethics of climate change | University of Oxford Podcasts - Audio and Video Lectures
"This first lecture of a series entitled 'Climate Connections' is presented by John Broome, White's Professor of Moral Philosophy and Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. The progress of climate change places moral demands on all of us to do something about it. It makes moral demands on governments and the international community, and also on each of us as private individuals. The public and private morality of climate change derives from moral duties of two different sorts. Firstly, it derives from the general duty of beneficence to make things better. Secondly, it derives from duties of justice, and in particular from the duty not to harm other people except in specific circumstances. It turns out that the private morality of climate change is entirely governed by the duty of justice not to harm. Emitting greenhouse gas harms other people in a way that is not morally permitted, so we should not do it. Fortunately, at present we can satisfy this moral demand by offsetting our em"
WolfsonCollege  lectures  ethics  morality  climate-change  podcasts 
august 2014 by pierredv
The Morality of Meditation - David DeSteno - www.nytimes.com
"The results were striking. Although only 16 percent of the nonmeditators gave up their seats — an admittedly disheartening fact — the proportion rose to 50 percent among those who had meditated. "
meditation  morality  compassion  research  NYTimes 
july 2014 by pierredv
How We Got "Please" and "Thank You" | Brain Pickings
But how did these commonest of courtesies, “please” and “thank you,” actually originate? That’s precisely what anthropologist and activist David Graeber explores in one of the most absorbing semi-asides in his altogether illuminating Debt: The First 5,000 Years
books  ethics  ex  Brain  Pickings  morality  customs  book  reviews 
july 2013 by pierredv
In Defense of Favoritism - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"We confuse our kids and ourselves about fairness. Most of the stories of children's culture pull a sleight-of-hand trick. They regularly address two worthy qualities that every child should cultivate—sharing and open-mindedness (toward people who are different). But while we all approve of the great virtues of sharing and diversity, we are informed that these are matters of fairness and equality—which, in point of fact, they are not."
via:ald  philosophy  phil  ethics  morality  bias 
november 2012 by pierredv
Biology and ideology: The anatomy of politics : Nature News & Comment
"From genes to hormone levels, biology may help to shape political behaviour." “I'd like to see people have a little less chutzpah about their political beliefs, and understand that some people experience the world differently,” says [political scientist John] Hibbing.
morality  hormones  twin-studies  genetics  politics  brain  NatureJournal 
october 2012 by pierredv
Jonathan Haidt: The moral roots of liberals and conservatives | Video on TED.com
"Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we're left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most. Jonathan Haidt studies how -- and why -- we evolved to be moral. By understanding more about our moral roots, his hope is that we can learn to be civil and open-minded. His new book is "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.""
morality  ethics  video  TED  **  lectures 
october 2012 by pierredv
What righteousness really means - opinion - 08 March 2012 - New Scientist interview with Jonathan Haidt
"Liberals have difficulty understanding the Tea Party because they think it is a bunch of selfish racists. But I think the Tea Party is driven in large part by concerns about fairness. It's not fairness as equality of outcomes, it's fairness as karma - the idea that good deeds will lead to good outcomes and bad deeds will lead to suffering. "
NewScientist  politics  morality  quotations 
may 2012 by pierredv
The world of adolescence: The best days of their lives? | The Economist
Review of Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood. By Christian Smith, Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson and Patricia Snell Herzog "The book focuses on five areas: how young adults make ethical decisions; what role consumerism plays in their lives; why they drink so much; why they have sex so indiscriminately; and why ... they are in fact disengaged from civic and political life." Their ethics are disturbing "What is striking about the responses to a whole string of questions probing how these young people deal with moral issues is how few of them seem to grasp what is being asked. ... Very few seem to think that right and wrong are rooted in anything outside personal experience."
trends  books  USA  teens  morality  culture  aging  adolescence  TheEconomist 
november 2011 by pierredv
Virtual World Study Reveals the Origin of Good and Bad Behavior Patterns - Technology Review
negative behavior prompts not only retaliation but added negative behavior; but people who do this disproportionately leave the world, eventually thus leading to net positive behavior
x:MITtechnologyreview  morality  virtualworlds  via:arXivblog 
july 2011 by pierredv
Ewwwwwwwww! - The Boston Globe
"... the argument that some behavioral scientists have begun to make: That a significant slice of morality can be explained by our innate feelings of disgust. A growing number of provocative and clever studies appear to show that disgust has the power to shape our moral
judgments."
"morality is not, as the Buddha and St. Augustine said, a way to curb our animal desires: It’s simply an outgrowth of that same animal nature"
morality  psychology  experiment  emotion  **  quotations 
august 2010 by pierredv
You can't fight violence with violence - opinion Metin Başoğlu - 13 July 2010 - New Scientist
Psychology of vengeance "both humans and animals respond with anger and aggression to threats to their physical and psychological well-being and that retaliatory aggression attenuates the feelings of helplessness that arise from trauma"
ethics  psychology  war  morality  opinion  NewScientist 
august 2010 by pierredv
Brain damage skews our moral compass - life - 30 March 2010 - New Scientist
"The discovery is helping to unravel how we make moral judgements – and has implications for people's fitness to serve as jurors or judges " Moral dilemmas presented to people with damage to ventromedial prefrontal cortex; responded differently to "normal" controls "Young concludes that both emotion and recognising intent in others are key to moral judgements." conclusion from Owen Jones of Vanderbilt: "They reveal regions that simply must be intact and functioning for people to make important moral and legal decisions"
NewScientist  experiment  brain-VMPFC  brain-temporparietal  ethics  neuroscience  behavior  morality 
may 2010 by pierredv
Bering in Mind: Scientists say free will probably doesn't exist, but urge: "Don't stop believing!"
"One of the most striking findings to emerge recently in the science of free will is that when people believe—or are led to believe—that free will is just an illusion, they tend to become more antisocial"
psychology  philosophy  morality  Scientific  American  free-will 
april 2010 by pierredv
Philosophers Zone - 25 July 2009 - Governance and the Yuck Factor - interview with Stephen Clarke
Liberals are often simply oblivious to conservative moral grounds. For example, quoting Stephen Clarke quoting John Haidt "most people consider patriotism to be a moral virtue, but a liberal will not consider patriotism to be a moral virtue; they might concede it to be an interesting character trait, but they don't consider it to be a natural morality" While conservatives would concede that core liberal moral grounds like autonomy and fairness have some role to play in morality, they are also said to think that morality includes e.g. respect for authority.
philosophy  morality  politics  philosopherszone 
september 2009 by pierredv
Covet your neighbor's Blu-ray? A fresh look at the 10 Commandments. Leon Kass | csmonitor.com Feb 2009
Nice look at precepts - interesting that he interprets "not bear false witness" as "no false speech"
spirituality  morality  csmonitor  christianity 
february 2009 by pierredv
Clean bodies, dirty minds | Cleanliness is next to godlessness | The Economist
"Soaping away your outer dirt may lead to inner evil" "A study just published in Psychological Science by Simone Schnall of the University of Plymouth and her colleagues shows that washing with soap and water makes people view unethical activities as more acceptable and reasonable than they would if they had not washed themselves."
psychology  morality  economist 
december 2008 by pierredv
Study Finds Brain Injury Changes Moral Judgment - New York Times
"Damage to an area of the brain behind the forehead, inches behind the eyes, transforms the way people make moral judgments in life-or-death situations, scientists are reporting today. In a new study, people with this rare injury expressed increased willi
neuroscience  cognition  morality 
march 2007 by pierredv

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