Jonathan Phillips and Fiery Cushman recently published a paper in PNAS: Morality constrains the default representation of what is possible. The title of Jonathan's accompanying Aeon article is somewhat more evocative: 'But you can't do that!' Why immoral actions seem impossible. This article (go read it now!) fits neatly in with (what I think of … Continue reading All’s Fair?
Sometimes I wish it was okay for a paper to have an introduction that goes "Here's a weird phenomenon. Let's see if we can pin it down in the lab!" If that had been possible, the recent paper Moral Chivalry by Oriel FeldmanHall &co. could have gone from the first two sentences of their intriguing introduction... A … Continue reading Harming Men
Morality is like vision: you can just see when something is wrong. And when you see that something is wrong, it feels objective, it feels like you’re observing something true about the world. The apple is red. Killing babies is wrong. Analogies are good. Metaphors, comparisons, contrasts - they all help us understand things that … Continue reading Metaphors for Morality
1. Moral relativism is not cool. I learnt this the hard way: you shouldn’t hesitate when your friend asks “but killing babies is objectively wrong, right?” “Well...” In my defence, I was thinking about the problems with moral naturalism; about the difficulties of locating “the moral good” somewhere in the natural world; about the book The … Continue reading Absolutely.
A new venue has opened up in Melbourne: a place you can go to break stuff. Like, really break it. Smash it. Crush it. With a baseball bat. The target of all this beating would be wineglasses, crockery, porcelain; mostly kitchenware, as far as I can tell. And why? To quote the Broadsheet article: “It’s a … Continue reading Catharsis