It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Monkeys have a sense of morality, say scientists

page: 4
16
<< 1  2  3    5  6 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 07:54 PM
link   

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
I agree that we may be viewing this from different levels.


We certainly are.


I dont see a problem or conflict between what we are saying but you do. You are focusing on the behavior itself, where I am focusing on the underlying strategy. No matter whether the psychopath decides it is in his best interest to pretend to cooperate or not, he is not in fact, cooperating. His rule set is "you sacrifice, (cooperate) I do not. There is no altruistic, sacrificing, motive. Any pretense of it is a move to gain advantage. It is never actually a giving up of individual advantage on their part in the other persons favor. Whereas most people really will give up personal advantage to help another. Such as those who die trying to rescue another, or go to war when they do not enjoy it, to save their group.


Depends whether you see all altruistic behaviour as truly selfless.

Perhaps. Some can be.

I think we actually agree on much of it. I agree that psychopathy can be a strategy underpinned by evolution, it can survive in the social group, it is probably largely/significantly genetic. Where I don't agree is that it can be considered a true moral sense.

The problem is that you are essentially going against the grain in psychology, neuroscience, medicine, philosophy, and even the very study that forms the basis of this thread.

If a sense of fairness is indicative of a moral sense, then psychopaths don't really have it. I'm actually surprised you're attempting to argue such a position.


A sociopath or a psychopath may also go to war, but their motive will not be to sacrifice themselves for the group. If they go at all it is because they see opportunity for themselves, personally, perhaps in looting, killing, to avoid execution for refusing, whatever. No matter what behavior they adopt, their underlying motive is personal (or extremely closely related to self) rather than cooperative and for the broader group. The outward behavior is superficial, the core "moral" strategy is a constant.


Glad to see you put scare quotes around that.


Indeed. But they are never playing the same game. They know how to pretend to play by societies "morals" when it furthers their own "moral" interests to do so. But they are never actually behaving altruistically. So they are in fact, never actually playing by societies moral rules, even if superficially they appear to be.


They are essentially morally blind. The can give the illusion, they can repeat the rules, they just don't get it. They appear to see moral rules like conventional rules (i.e., don't shout out in the classroom vs. don't jump on Jonny's head). It's a ready distinction that even children make.


I remember the terms grudgers, suckers, etc. I am sure I have read this work. I just dont recall the data about stable levels in population. I will have to refresh on that and see how they got to the conclusion and what level they are proposing.


It's pretty old work, but haven't seen it really challenged.


I suppose what I am arguing in response to that is you cant argue about morality without understanding its origin. If you assume it is human rationality, as most philosophers who focus on morals do, you will always come up with a mucked up theory. Whether you are a deontologist or a consequentialist, if you misunderstand why a thing is "right" or "wrong" morally, you will come up with erroneous conclusions.


Possibly. I actually think rationality is the best route for normative ethics, but in contrast to the Kantians, it's not all about Homo Rationalis mulling in deep contemplation.

Psychology/neuroscience is focusing on the descriptive side. How do we actually make moral judgments? And I would actually say there is a move towards acceptance of more Humean models in philosophy (Knobe, Prinz, Nichols etc)


If you misunderstand why something is "moral" to the majority, as a deontologist, you will end up with dogma that actually can work against the function of morality, enhancing group survival. If you are dont understand these issues as a consequentialist;

en.wikipedia.org...


* What sort of consequences count as good consequences?
* Who is the primary beneficiary of moral action?
* How are the consequences judged and who judges them?


you may decide that any ends justify the means, when the evolutionary perspective would say no, the ends has to be collective to justify the means. Or you end up with Psychopaths.


Quite possibly. This is where the intuitive sense comes in. Thus, people will be utilitarian and pull a lever to switch a trolley to kill 1 person rather than 5, but are less likely to agree with pushing a fat man on the track to save 5 people (and produce the same utilitarian outcome).


No offense, but I doubt I have misunderstood Dawkins position on group selection. Particularly at the time he coined the term "meme." How he is softening to it in the current time frame I am not sure. Most of his recent press relates to his stance on God, so I have not read anything of his recently on socio-biology.


Memetics is about the 'evolution' of ideas, culture etc. It was never an answer to group selection. Never even heard it said it was.


en.wikipedia.org...


Although Richard Dawkins and fellow advocates of the gene-centered view of evolution remain unconvinced (see, for example, [14][15][16]), Wilson & Sober's work has been part of a broad revival of interest in multilevel selection as an explanation for evolutionary phenomena.


I know about Wilson. And, as I said earlier, I actually like the idea.


Although I agree that there need be no conflict between group selection and selfish genes. With Dawkins, as often happens, people get locked into their own theories and reject conflicting ones. I acutally enjoy Dawkins work, but I am not a fan. Meaning I am not a follower. Like all scientists, he has areas of strength and weakness and I accept what he does well and accept that he is not the God of socio-biology. Nor is another one of my favorite people, E.O. Wilson, who coined the term. The nature of science is that no matter how earth shattering your proposal, someone will come along later and refine it, or overturn it completely.


Perhaps. But Dawkins is probably a bit wicked that people keep misrepresenting the idea of 'selfish genes', not really about individual selfishness and can cover kin selection etc. Whether it does suitably - maybe, maybe not.



I use the term "rational" in line with the assumptions of philosophy. (And most people) That a rational creature is one who reasons first, then acts because of that reasoning. When I use it I mean that the basis for action is reason. Not only that the action be reasonable considering the circumstances. (Which could happen without conscious decision, quite serendipitously)


Heh, suppose that's why I tend to use 'adaptive'. But I've seen a few people who overly rely on cognition I could label 'irrational'. Losing emotion tends to do that.

Is it 'rational' to be able to be able to inhibit and reverse a response to a previously rewarding punishing stimuli towards a more rewarding target? So, for example, a patient may keep responding and receiving repeated striking punishment. I think not. Take emotion out and it all goes a bit wacky. The same people can be entirely cognitively sound (IQ, memory, etc etc).


I would argue that humans are rationalizers, not rational. In most cases. We act first, then reason why we did what we did in order to justify it. Not reason first and then act based on that reasoning.


Much of the time this is the case.


Which is why I feel so many fields that study human behavior are off base in many cases. They assume a rational human, not a rationalizer. Evolution did not require us to know why we did what we did. It only required that we act in specific ways. The fact that our actions are often "reasonable" considering the circumstances is due to selective pressure. If one acts emotionally/instinctively,/intuitively in a way that is unreasonable, considering the circumstances, one is less likely to survive. We did develop (or are developing) the capacity to reason, consciously, and we may someday become rational in the true sense. But we arent there yet.


Hmm. I'd rather not. I like my flexible adaptive mind. The skill is in learning when each class of processing is best.

[edit on 18-2-2009 by melatonin]




posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 08:51 PM
link   
I have a hard time believing thatanyone could actually entertain that any member of the non homo-sapien world could posess morals. All the behaviors described and observed are part of community survival instinct. Humans dont need morals or moral behavior to survive.

Try this on as many different groups as you want. Starve a big monkey and a little young monkey, then throw some food at them, you think the big monkey will say "hey youngin, you eat first." Then do it to the same amount of groups of humans.

Sorry theyre just animals.



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 09:09 PM
link   

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
I dont understand. You are saying that in order to say apes have morals, that we have to have universally accepted morals, and that morals are never universal but always subjective and individual?

So if there is no such thing as "universal morals" and without "universal morals" we cannot judge ape morality, you are essentially saying nothing apes could ever do could be called moral simply because universal morals dont exist.


From what I gathered from the quoted excerpt was that there were universal morals already established. I don't think this is the case, though. That's all
.





posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 09:10 PM
link   

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
I would have to say I dont see why that is a mistake on my part. I think that the mistake is that some people who do studies confuse rationalization after the fact, with moral decision making based on reason prior to that decision making. Being able to produce reasoning for something does not mean reasoning is the basis of that decision, does it?


Nope, the point is that emotions are not the sole driver of moral judgment. Which was essentially Haidt's argument. He did allow well-trained philosophers the ability to reason to a judgment.

But studies show that reason (or executive function) has a role to play. It does lead us to decisions. There's actually an emerging literature on that now.


And that, I would argue, is the proof. There are some things that are so widely accepted as "moral" that the individual has not had to rationalize to another "why" it is moral. If there "moral" sense was BASED upon reason, they would not have to struggle to rationalize it. The reasoning would by necessity already be in place or they would not have come to that conclusion. The fact that they are caught out when asked, and have no rational for it, demonstrates that reasoning is not the basis. If you gave them time, they could construct a rationalization. But that still would not demonstrate that reason was the basis of their moral sense. It would only demonstrate that they can rationalize their moral sense when forced to and given time to.


Heh, but you seem to be saying 'all one', or 'all other'. It's not so simple. There is a tension between emotion and cognition. We have intuitive responses which we can override. For example, we can make utilitarian judgments in the face of our intuitive response.


The crying baby? I missed that one in your posts. Do you mean the scenario where a group is hiding, (usually from the Nazis) and the baby begins to cry and the mother must decide to suffocate it or let the whole group perish?


Aye.


If you do mean that one, from an evolutionary standpoint, it still would not be a dilemma. She should suffocate the baby from that view, no dilemma. And that one is true regardless whether individual selfish genes or collective ones are considered.


That's a cognitive response. Well done. Only around 60% agree. It's great to see people respond to that in person. You just seem to be saying 'this is my answer, therefore no dilemma', lol. It's a dilemma because neither of the two outcomes are ideal, but a choice is forced.


In fact, humans have in many time frames sacrificed babies to save adults in the group from starvation.

It is more difficult for people when two instincts collide, the instinct of a mother to protect her child and the instinct to protect the collective, but when those twp actually do collide, most often the group wins. And I would argue that that is entirely predictable using selfish genes.


But, still it's not entirely predictable. The point here is that there is a conflict between the emotion-based intuition (I can't kill my baby!) and the utilitarian response (I can save more people by doing so). And the brain responses show this - for the utilitarian response, areas of the brain implicated in reasoning and response conflict are highly activated cf. those who respond deontologically.

I haven't edited or reread since I wrote it an hour ago, lol. So this post might not be entirely ideal - I'll fix boo-boos tomorrow.



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 10:09 PM
link   

Originally posted by melatonin
I think we actually agree on much of it. I agree that psychopathy can be a strategy underpinned by evolution, it can survive in the social group, it is probably largely/significantly genetic. Where I don't agree is that it can be considered a true moral sense.


Then it appears that the definition of "moral" is the problem. From my view, you appear to be fluctuating back and forth between the evolutionary view, "morals evolved to facilitate survival" and the cultural one, "morals mean a specific set of actions that the majority agree to ideologically." I am sticking with "morals evolved to facilitate survival."



Originally posted by melatonin
The problem is that you are essentially going against the grain in psychology, neuroscience, medicine, philosophy, and even the very study that forms the basis of this thread.


I certainly dont see how you come to that conclusion at all. I would say I am adhering to the very study that forms the basis of the thread stringently. All of those disciplines you listed are not in agreement. In philosophy alone there are many schools of thought on morality. I cannot be going against the grain of all of them, because there is no consistent grain to go against. I am proposing that there could be a consistent grain, and to get there, we need to look at "morality" as not ideological.


Originally posted by melatonin
If a sense of fairness is indicative of a moral sense, then psychopaths don't have it. I'm actually surprised you're attempting to argue such a position.


They have a sense of fairness. They have a moral sense. You just arent included in the group to which they extend fairness.

The difference between a psychopath and your average person is "who qualifies for moral (fair) treatment?"

We will have two tribes. Tribe A and Tribe B, henceforth A and B. Both have a moral sense. Members of A are fair to other members of A, and the same with B. However, if members of B appear in A's territory, A does not think it is "fair" to treat those members of B the same way they treat members of A. Not at all. In fact, it is fine to murder members of B, steal their belongings and bring them back to A's camp. This is not an argument that A have no morals. A has a moral obligation to members of A. Not to members of B.

Psychopaths (in the most extreme form, not the socially acceptable captain of industry form) are a tribe of One. If a psychopath (henceforth P) resides in tribe A, not only does "who is a recipient of my fair treatment" not include tribe B, it also does not include any member of tribe A with the exception of P himself.

Tribe A is not psychopathic because they refuse to behave cooperatively towards tribe B. "Moral" behavior is not indiscriminate. If I as a member of A aided and abetted the leader of B in such a way that tribe B overran and killed off my group, no one would argue my cooperation with B was moral. I would be looked at as a traitor for turning on my own, and treason is generally considered immoral.

Who is included in your group or tribe is flexible. You can add members, form alliances, and so on. You are moral as long as you behave a certain way towards your own group. Members of other groups may of may not benefit from your moral sense. Humans, particularly religious ones may like to talk as though morals are absolutes, but look at all the arguments that killing in war is not murder. We do not all agree that all killing of humans is wrong. Only that killing of members of our tribe is wrong.

Psychopaths are a tribe with only one member. (or very few) Regardless who they happen to live with. Regardless if others consider them a member or not. They may feel, and often do feel, moral outrage if they are treated unfairly. But "who I recognize as my tribe" is limited to themselves. Their morals do not extend beyond themselves onto others. They are concerned with individual survival only. Not with a collective one.


Originally posted by melatonin
They are essentially morally blind. The can give the illusion, they can repeat the rules, they just don't get it. They appear to see moral rules like conventional rules (i.e., don't shout out in the classroom vs. don't jump on Jonny's head). It's a ready distinction that even children make.


No, they totally get it. When they are being treated unfairly. What they dont get is that you are a member of their tribe. They are not morally blind at all. They just dont consider you "their own kind." Just like we dont consider cows our own kind, and happily kill and eat them.


Originally posted by melatonin
Possibly. I actually think rationality is the best route for normative ethics, but in contrast to the Kantians, it's not all about Homo Rationalis mulling in deep contemplation.


I dont think you can have "normative ethics" unless you understand what puts the "norm" in normative.


Originally posted by melatonin
Quite possibly. This is where the intuitive sense comes in. Thus, people will be utilitarian and pull a lever to switch a trolley to kill 1 person rather than 5, but are less likely to agree with pushing a fat man on the track to save 5 people (and produce the same utilitarian outcome).


Thats not what you really see. You will see utilitarian decision making when they are deciding the fate of people not in their "tribe." If they have no tie to any one involved. But if that trolley switch was to kill their niece to save 5 members of another group, say, Lativians, they are going to save their niece and screw the five Latvians. And if they have to push a fat man on the tracks to save their loved one, most people will push now and deal with the moral dilemma later. That is the problem with most philosophical moral theories, they dont explain and cant predict what really happens. An evolutionary view does.



Originally posted by melatonin
Memetics is about the 'evolution' of ideas, culture etc. It was never an answer to group selection. Never even heard it said it was.


In this context, to line it right up with what we are discussing, (morals) morals are generally considered ideological. Not biologically driven. Morals would be/have been considered memes. I am arguing they are not "ideas." The chimp study argues they are not "ideas." They are not memes. The sense that you protect your own is not an idea. It is hardwired into the vast majority of us. What may or may not be a meme is "who is my own group?" The desire to protect ones own is not learned. It is instinctive.

www.t5m.com...

If you watch this short clip of him speaking on morality, (ignore the religious part, it isnt relevant) notice that he is clearly saying morals are "a concern for suffering of others, a sympathy." He is not saying that morals are biologically wired in. He is treating them as if they were memes. Ideologies.

You dont need memes to explain morals or make predictions about them.



Originally posted by melatonin
Heh, suppose that's why I tend to use 'adaptive'. But I've seen a few people who overly rely on cognition I could label 'irrational'. Losing emotion tends to do that.


Well, I am not sure how you are using cognition. If your use of cognition is the way I use rationalize, then of course you will see "irrational rationalization." There is nothing funnier to watch than someone who just did something impulsive and foolish trying to spin a tale about what they did in an attempt to make it sound rational.


Originally posted by melatonin
Hmm. I'd rather not. I like my flexible adaptive mind. The skill is in learning when each class of processing is best.


I dont know what I would rather. After all having the capacity for true rationality does not mean it would be used at all times in all circumstances. Reflexive action will always be better than reason for, say, ducking shoes thrown at you. But true rationality may be better for leading a group of people, as Plato argues. I think you are right, learning which is best for what is the trick. I think the first step is doing away with the myth that we are currently rational, so that our science can reflect the truth of us, not our rationalizations of ourselves.



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 10:54 PM
link   

Originally posted by melatonin
Nope, the point is that emotions are not the sole driver of moral judgment. Which was essentially Haidt's argument. He did allow well-trained philosophers the ability to reason to a judgment.

But studies show that reason (or executive function) has a role to play. It does lead us to decisions. There's actually an emerging literature on that now.


I would agree that there are those who can use reason to make judgments and thus are "rational beings." I would argue they are in the minority. Well trained philosophers or not.


Originally posted by melatonin
Heh, but you seem to be saying 'all one', or 'all other'. It's not so simple. There is a tension between emotion and cognition. We have intuitive responses which we can override. For example, we can make utilitarian judgments in the face of our intuitive response.


I will grant that is it possible. It is unlikely for most that they will. Nothing about our response to 9-11 for instance, was rational. It was a response based on emotion, or instinct, or whatever you choose to call it. Now the people behind the scenes may have been using reason in order to manipulate the emotional response to their ends. But the group was not using reason.


Originally posted by melatonin
That's a cognitive response. Well done. Only around 60% agree. It's great to see people respond to that in person.


Well yes, it is great to see people respond to that in person. And the 60% is probably affected by rationalization on the spot. People in person are concerned with how the group with view their decision. The group in a classroom is not in danger of being killed by Nazis if the child betrays their position. So the answerer has to try to gauge 1) how they really FEEL and 2) how they feel the group will respond to their answer.


Originally posted by melatonin
You just seem to be saying 'this is my answer, therefore no dilemma', lol. It's a dilemma because neither of the two outcomes are ideal, but a choice is forced.


I know it may seem as though my answer is so certain because I am only looking at my own view of it, how I might respond, but that isnt why I am certain. I am certain because I know enough about cultures and history to know that when people really are in a position where a baby or babies, (or extremely old people) endanger the whole group, the children and old people are often left to die. And I know that in that specific situation, where the mother with the whimpering baby is in a dark space with many other people staring at her and willing her to shut it up so they dont all die, that she will. The pressure to decide to suffocate the baby in that actual situation will be several orders of magnitude greater than the pressure philosophy students face in class trying to decide if they will look more heartless killing the baby or the whole group.

Moral studies should not be about "what I say I will do," or "what I hope I will do" they should reflect what people will actually do.


Originally posted by melatonin
But, still it's not entirely predictable. The point here is that there is a conflict between the emotion-based intuition (I can't kill my baby!) and the utilitarian response (I can save more people by doing so). And the brain responses show this - for the utilitarian response, areas of the brain implicated in reasoning and response conflict are highly activated cf. those who respond deontologically.


But the decision here is not really emotion vs utility. It is emotion vs emotion. I dont want to kill my child vs I dont want all of us to die and everyone is looking at me menacingly. She is not calculating in her head the number of people she will save a la utilitarianism in the moment. She knows intuitively that she has to kill the child or the whole group including the child and her will likely be wiped out. Evolution loads the dice in favor of the group in social animals. The emotional or instinctive response to kill the child will be the one she acts upon, rather than the " I must save my baby" because there is a hierarchy of emotional choices here. Not one emotional and one reasoned. Sure there will be psychological conflict, there are two evolutionary dictates here. But one is more heavily selected for. The group one. There is always the possibility that she will be an aberration and not kill the child, but again, normal just means what most would do. And I would be far more than 60% would suffocate the child. What you say you will do, or think you will do, and what you will actually do, are not the same.

While the scans are evidence of something, I question whether they are evidence that reason will be the deciding factor in that moment. It could just be evidence that if you ask someone a question like that, while hooked up to scanners rather than in a dark cellar with danger and lots of peer pressure, one needs to reason it out rather than act instinctively. It could be evidence that when one is not in danger, or under group pressure, one would rather save ones baby.



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 06:02 AM
link   

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Then it appears that the definition of "moral" is the problem. From my view, you appear to be fluctuating back and forth between the evolutionary view, "morals evolved to facilitate survival" and the cultural one, "morals mean a specific set of actions that the majority agree to ideologically." I am sticking with "morals evolved to facilitate survival."


Heh, morals evolved in the milieu. You can't really remove them very well from social cognition. Social behaviour is about interaction with conspecifics.


I certainly dont see how you come to that conclusion at all. I would say I am adhering to the very study that forms the basis of the thread stringently. All of those disciplines you listed are not in agreement. In philosophy alone there are many schools of thought on morality. I cannot be going against the grain of all of them, because there is no consistent grain to go against. I am proposing that there could be a consistent grain, and to get there, we need to look at "morality" as not ideological.


But they generally agree that psychopathy involves people who are not moral actors. Indeed, it sort of goes with the definition. I'm sure you can find dissenters, but someone who acts with little thought of the harm they cause or fairness isn't what we would tend to see as morally normal.

Again, morality works in the milieu.


They have a sense of fairness. They have a moral sense. You just arent included in the group to which they extend fairness.

The difference between a psychopath and your average person is "who qualifies for moral (fair) treatment?"

We will have two tribes. Tribe A and Tribe B, henceforth A and B. Both have a moral sense. Members of A are fair to other members of A, and the same with B. However, if members of B appear in A's territory, A does not think it is "fair" to treat those members of B the same way they treat members of A. Not at all. In fact, it is fine to murder members of B, steal their belongings and bring them back to A's camp. This is not an argument that A have no morals. A has a moral obligation to members of A. Not to members of B.


Nope, don't agree. Psychopaths have no moral obligation to anyone. They will cheat all. That's why we find a high proportion of them in prison.

If you make Tribe A equal to the psychopathic self, perhaps. Lol. Sort of defeats the notion of tribes being social, though. High socially functional psychopaths do better. But, still, they carry many of the psychopathic traits.

What you are describing isn't really psychopathy. That is ingroup/outgroup behaviour. They fail to apply morality in and out the group.


Psychopaths (in the most extreme form, not the socially acceptable captain of industry form) are a tribe of One. If a psychopath (henceforth P) resides in tribe A, not only does "who is a recipient of my fair treatment" not include tribe B, it also does not include any member of tribe A with the exception of P himself.


I'm sorry. But morality works in a social interaction. It is about harm/care/group loyalty/etc to others. If you want to argue to make a social group of one, you have left the social arena.

Again, all the way back to the original post and morality and evolution, it's relies on a sense of fairness/care to others. They don't have it.


No, they totally get it. When they are being treated unfairly. What they dont get is that you are a member of their tribe. They are not morally blind at all. They just dont consider you "their own kind." Just like we dont consider cows our own kind, and happily kill and eat them.


I'm at the point of 'whatever'.


I dont think you can have "normative ethics" unless you understand what puts the "norm" in normative.


It's a philosophical definition. Is/ought.


Thats not what you really see. You will see utilitarian decision making when they are deciding the fate of people not in their "tribe." If they have no tie to any one involved. But if that trolley switch was to kill their niece to save 5 members of another group, say, Lativians, they are going to save their niece and screw the five Latvians. And if they have to push a fat man on the tracks to save their loved one, most people will push now and deal with the moral dilemma later. That is the problem with most philosophical moral theories, they dont explain and cant predict what really happens. An evolutionary view does.


Yes, all interesting points. Yet just five minutes ago you were happy to kill your own baby (high relatedness) to save five others (lower relatedness). Ingroups are not clear cut, they are heirarchial (Human, western, british, northern, town, job, gender, family etc etc).

You just seem to going all shock and awe to make some sort of point. None of that answers the point I made. If we added such variables to the scenario, we know what we would expect at the neural level.


In this context, to line it right up with what we are discussing, (morals) morals are generally considered ideological. Not biologically driven. Morals would be/have been considered memes. I am arguing they are not "ideas." The chimp study argues they are not "ideas." They are not memes. The sense that you protect your own is not an idea. It is hardwired into the vast majority of us. What may or may not be a meme is "who is my own group?" The desire to protect ones own is not learned. It is instinctive.

www.t5m.com...


I think I said something very similar earlier in my very first response in this thread. We have an innate sense of fairness. Yet some, like psychopaths don't.

You're jumping around 'irrationally' here. The memes are like the components of the language. Marc Hauser actually suggests we have an innate moral grammar (cf. Chomsky), and we add the specifics onto it.


If you watch this short clip of him speaking on morality, (ignore the religious part, it isnt relevant) notice that he is clearly saying morals are "a concern for suffering of others, a sympathy." He is not saying that morals are biologically wired in. He is treating them as if they were memes. Ideologies.

You dont need memes to explain morals or make predictions about them.


And they are based on a concern for others (e.g., fairness). They rely on the ability for empathy and attachment. I think he does accept they are biological.


Well, I am not sure how you are using cognition. If your use of cognition is the way I use rationalize, then of course you will see "irrational rationalization." There is nothing funnier to watch than someone who just did something impulsive and foolish trying to spin a tale about what they did in an attempt to make it sound rational.


It doesn't even need to be impulsive and foolish (e.g., Nisbett & Wilson).


I dont know what I would rather. After all having the capacity for true rationality does not mean it would be used at all times in all circumstances. Reflexive action will always be better than reason for, say, ducking shoes thrown at you. But true rationality may be better for leading a group of people, as Plato argues. I think you are right, learning which is best for what is the trick. I think the first step is doing away with the myth that we are currently rational, so that our science can reflect the truth of us, not our rationalizations of ourselves.


We aim for rationality. It's not a given. We can learn to remove emotional biases as best as possible in the appropriate domains. The first move is awareness of the problem.

[edit on 19-2-2009 by melatonin]



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 06:24 AM
link   

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
I would agree that there are those who can use reason to make judgments and thus are "rational beings." I would argue they are in the minority. Well trained philosophers or not.


I think the term you're looking for is 'pure reason'.


I will grant that is it possible. It is unlikely for most that they will. Nothing about our response to 9-11 for instance, was rational. It was a response based on emotion, or instinct, or whatever you choose to call it. Now the people behind the scenes may have been using reason in order to manipulate the emotional response to their ends. But the group was not using reason.


Okie doke. Not sure how that fits my comment.

The point is that in each of us we are undergoing both reason and emotion, and they readily conflict. One response tends to be stronger than the other.

And if we take out the emotion regions of the brain, we become more utilitarian (cf. patients with frontal lesions).


Well yes, it is great to see people respond to that in person. And the 60% is probably affected by rationalization on the spot. People in person are concerned with how the group with view their decision. The group in a classroom is not in danger of being killed by Nazis if the child betrays their position. So the answerer has to try to gauge 1) how they really FEEL and 2) how they feel the group will respond to their answer.


Not a group response. People respond individually during experimentation. But it's a useful tool when attracting people to this area, lol. The people I throw these at tend to have little problem with passivity and group pressure issues.


I know it may seem as though my answer is so certain because I am only looking at my own view of it, how I might respond, but that isnt why I am certain. I am certain because I know enough about cultures and history to know that when people really are in a position where a baby or babies, (or extremely old people) endanger the whole group, the children and old people are often left to die. And I know that in that specific situation, where the mother with the whimpering baby is in a dark space with many other people staring at her and willing her to shut it up so they dont all die, that she will. The pressure to decide to suffocate the baby in that actual situation will be several orders of magnitude greater than the pressure philosophy students face in class trying to decide if they will look more heartless killing the baby or the whole group.


Yet, 40% disagreed. I'm sure the real-world situation would be different. Not ethically viable for experimentation, of course.


Moral studies should not be about "what I say I will do," or "what I hope I will do" they should reflect what people will actually do.


Moral judgment vs. moral behaviour.


But the decision here is not really emotion vs utility. It is emotion vs emotion. I dont want to kill my child vs I dont want all of us to die and everyone is looking at me menacingly. She is not calculating in her head the number of people she will save a la utilitarianism in the moment. She knows intuitively that she has to kill the child or the whole group including the child and her will likely be wiped out. Evolution loads the dice in favor of the group in social animals. The emotional or instinctive response to kill the child will be the one she acts upon, rather than the " I must save my baby" because there is a hierarchy of emotional choices here. Not one emotional and one reasoned. Sure there will be psychological conflict, there are two evolutionary dictates here. But one is more heavily selected for. The group one. There is always the possibility that she will be an aberration and not kill the child, but again, normal just means what most would do. And I would be far more than 60% would suffocate the child. What you say you will do, or think you will do, and what you will actually do, are not the same.


If it was intuitive, the response would be quick and clear. It isn't.

The point here is that the response is not intuitive, it is a high conflict scenario which shows that the strong claims of Haidt and social intuitivism are wrong. We can reason to a moral judgment.

As for the 60%. Perhaps with a real person in the real scenario. But you don't know. And, again, yes moral judgment vs. moral behaviour. Attitudes and behaviour are not always congruent.


While the scans are evidence of something, I question whether they are evidence that reason will be the deciding factor in that moment. It could just be evidence that if you ask someone a question like that, while hooked up to scanners rather than in a dark cellar with danger and lots of peer pressure, one needs to reason it out rather than act instinctively. It could be evidence that when one is not in danger, or under group pressure, one would rather save ones baby.


The whole point is to understand how people come to moral decisions. In the social world people don't need to be in a particular pickle to make such decisions. Indeed, that sort of how it works (e.g., homosexuality is immoral because...blah blah; abortion is immoral because...blah blah). These judgments are made all the time.

Actual behaviour? Well that can be different.

[edit on 19-2-2009 by melatonin]



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 12:32 PM
link   

Originally posted by melatonin

Nope, don't agree. Psychopaths have no moral obligation to anyone. They will cheat all. That's why we find a high proportion of them in prison.


Ummm. I am not understanding how to say this any more clearly. You say you are disagreeing. Then you say exactly what I said. Which means you arent disagreeing. I am saying that psychopaths are a tribe of one. Their moral sense does not extend beyond themself. How can you disagree with that and then rephrase it as your position?

However, having NO moral sense, and having a moral sense that does not extend out as far as the average persons, (past oneself in extreme cases) is not the same thing. If psychopaths had NO moral sense, they would not feel they could be cheated, treated unfairly, etc. They would have no reaction to being treated unfairly. And this is not the case. They do get "unfair" they just dont get that it extends to others.



Originally posted by melatonin
If you make Tribe A equal to the psychopathic self, perhaps. Lol. Sort of defeats the notion of tribes being social, though. High socially functional psychopaths do better. But, still, they carry many of the psychopathic traits.


Which is why I am saying it is a matter of the degree to which you extend "fairness" outward onto others.


Originally posted by melatonin
What you are describing isn't really psychopathy. That is ingroup/outgroup behaviour. They fail to apply morality in and out the group.


Is this because it is not the same thing? Or because when humans rationalize their own behavior, they classify it differently when we do it to, say, Iraquis, than when an individual does it to everyone else? What is the concrete justification for calling the behaviors different? Only that more people fall into one category, the category that says morality applies to a group of people, than fall into the other, the one who says morality only extends to myself. We label those whose morality does not extend past themselves psychopaths, we label those whose morality does not extend onto "enemies" "normal," we label those who morality extends to every living thing either saints or idiots depending on who does the labeling. It is fundamentally the same thing, extension of morality outward, and it varies only in degree of extension. I can label anything in any way I want, and I can even convince others that my label has meaning. I can justify it and sell it. But when you look at the mechanical operation of it, there are not three things happening there, there is ONE thing happening there to varying degree.


Originally posted by melatonin
I'm sorry. But morality works in a social interaction. It is about harm/care/group loyalty/etc to others. If you want to argue to make a social group of one, you have left the social arena.


No. I havent left the social arena. If all members of B extend fair treatment to members of A, but members of A do not reciprocate to members of B, and reserve their extension of fairness only to other members of A, members of A are not immoral. They are moral to members of A. The fact that B includes them but A doesnt reciprocate is a matter of degree of extension. B extends more widely than A. Both groups have a moral sense. Who qualifies to be a recipient of that moral treatment varies.


Originally posted by melatonin
Again, all the way back to the original post and morality and evolution, it's relies on a sense of fairness/care to others. They don't have it.


www.newscientist.com...


Friederike Range from the University of Vienna, Austria, takes the concept of dog morality even further. In a series of experiments, her team rewarded dogs with a food treat if they held up a paw. They found that when a lone dog was asked to give its paw but received no treat, it would persevere for the entire experiment, which lasted 30 repetitions. However, if they tested two dogs together but only rewarded one, the dog who missed out would make a big show of being denied its treat and stop cooperating after just a few rounds. "Dogs show a strong aversion to inequity," says Range. "I prefer not to call it a sense of fairness, but others might."


Notice that social interaction is occurring. Two dogs and a human. But what is not required is that the other dog protest when his fellow is being treated unfairly. He can eat up all the treats while the other dog gets "cheated." What is required is that the dog being cheated KNOWS he is being cheated, (treated unfairly) and will eventually refuse to play. Psychopaths know when THEY are being treated unfairly. They just dont feel they have to treat others fairly in return. They have a moral sense.



Originally posted by melatonin
It's a philosophical definition. Is/ought.


I majored in Philosophy, and graduated magna cum laude. I know what it is. I am saying you cant make those distinctions meaningfully unless you understand what is really at play underneath the labels. And memorizing the terms or labels and tossing them around does not equal understanding of the underlying subject matter.


Originally posted by melatonin
Yes, all interesting points. Yet just five minutes ago you were happy to kill your own baby (high relatedness) to save five others (lower relatedness). Ingroups are not clear cut, they are heirarchial (Human, western, british, northern, town, job, gender, family etc etc).


Thats because you dont seem to understand that having a baby of high relatedness means nothing at all in evolutionary terms if it does not survive to adulthood and reproduce itself. You can have a hundred babies and be an evolutionary failure if none of them survive and reproduce as well. As the mother, my odds of having my genes survive to the next generation are greater if I and my tribe dont die. Even sacrificing my tribe to save myself and my baby make no sense. A primate alone, (or with one baby) is a dead primate. Its far easier to have another baby than to find another tribe that will accept you.



Originally posted by melatonin
I think I said something very similar earlier in my very first response in this thread. We have an innate sense of fairness. Yet some, like psychopaths don't.


You are just incorrect. They do. They know when THEY are being treated unfairly.



Originally posted by melatonin
You're jumping around 'irrationally' here. The memes are like the components of the language. Marc Hauser actually suggests we have an innate moral grammar (cf. Chomsky), and we add the specifics onto it.


I would not disagree that. Mostly because you have only given a bit of fluff and a credit and made no argument to show how it applies.


Originally posted by melatonin
And they are based on a concern for others (e.g., fairness). They rely on the ability for empathy and attachment. I think he does accept they are biological.


If morals ONLY served to make you consider fairness to others, how would that serve to further YOUR genetic line? You are taking the "others" part too far. We form social groups to benefit both others and ourselves. Our initial impulse is that we ourselves (and our genetic relateds) benefit from being in a group. Grudgers do better because they are not completely selfless. We are fair to others because in a group where others are also self interested we have to be. It is adaptive to be. You said it yourself with suckers, grudgers, cheaters, etc. You just arent applying your line of reasoning all the way through your argument because you are jumping from what one person said to another, and they arent all saying the same thing.



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 01:01 PM
link   

Originally posted by melatonin

I think the term you're looking for is 'pure reason'.


Rational derives from reason.

www.etymonline.com...


rational Look up rational at Dictionary.com
1398, "endowed with reason," from L. rationalis "of or belonging to reason, reasonable," from ratio (gen. rationis) "reckoning, calculation, reason" (see ratio). Rationalist "physician whose treatment is based on reason" is from 1626; applied to a philosophical doctrine 1647. Rationalize is first recorded 1803, "to explain, to make reasonable;" in the psychological sense of "to give an explanation that conceals true motives" it dates from 1922.


I am not misusing the word "rational."


Originally posted by melatonin
Yet, 40% disagreed. I'm sure the real-world situation would be different. Not ethically viable for experimentation, of course.


No, it isnt a viable experiment due to ethical concerns. Which is why looking to history may be better than asking someone who has never been in a situation like that to try to determine what they would do. Self reporting what you HAVE done, is not necessarily a poor data collection technique, under the right circumstances. However one has to question whether or not it is viable when one is asking someone what they think they would do in a completely unfamiliar situation.



Originally posted by melatonin
If it was intuitive, the response would be quick and clear. It isn't.


The person you are asking the question of, is not in that situation. You dont know, and cant know, what their intuitive response would be if they were.


Originally posted by melatonin
As for the 60%. Perhaps with a real person in the real scenario. But you don't know. And, again, yes moral judgment vs. moral behaviour. Attitudes and behaviour are not always congruent.


If something is hardwired in, you should get consistent behavior, whether or not their rationalization was consistent.


Originally posted by melatonin
The whole point is to understand how people come to moral decisions. In the social world people don't need to be in a particular pickle to make such decisions. Indeed, that sort of how it works (e.g., homosexuality is immoral because...blah blah; abortion is immoral because...blah blah). These judgments are made all the time.

Actual behaviour? Well that can be different.


Which is why you would have to look to moral behavior, not rationalization about moral behavior, to determine what has been hardwired in by evolution.
Notice in the primate studies and the dog studies, they arent asking the primates and dogs what they think the moral thing to do it. They are observing what the animals actually do.

Humans do studies that assume you can ASK another human these questions because we assume that moral decisions are made rationally. We assume a rational basis for moral behavior. Not a biological one.

If you do away with the assumption that humans make moral judgments rationally, (which the primate studies would suggest you should) you also have to question whether how we rationalize our moral judgments has any real relationship to the moral judgment itself. One culture may tell one story about why murder is wrong, and another may tell another. You can have two very different rationalizations for why murder is wrong. But the FACT that both cultures think murder is wrong has nothing to so with the rationalization.



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 01:26 PM
link   

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander

Originally posted by melatonin

Nope, don't agree. Psychopaths have no moral obligation to anyone. They will cheat all. That's why we find a high proportion of them in prison.


Ummm. I am not understanding how to say this any more clearly. You say you are disagreeing. Then you say exactly what I said. Which means you arent disagreeing. I am saying that psychopaths are a tribe of one. Their moral sense does not extend beyond themself. How can you disagree with that and then rephrase it as your position?


It just looks like that, your comment:


They have a sense of fairness. They have a moral sense. You just arent included in the group to which they extend fairness. [Nope, I don't agree]

The difference between a psychopath and your average person is "who qualifies for moral (fair) treatment?"


And the answer to the second part for the psychopath is 'no-one'. So, as I'm answering top to bottom, I point out my position. You're position is that they have a moral sense because they care about themselves.

That's not morality. Just pure self-service.


However, having NO moral sense, and having a moral sense that does not extend out as far as the average persons, (past oneself in extreme cases) is not the same thing. If psychopaths had NO moral sense, they would not feel they could be cheated, treated unfairly, etc. They would have no reaction to being treated unfairly. And this is not the case. They do get "unfair" they just dont get that it extends to others.


Morality is about group behaviour, about living most effectively in group settings.


Which is why I am saying it is a matter of the degree to which you extend "fairness" outward onto others.


And morality requires applying it to others.


Is this because it is not the same thing? Or because when humans rationalize their own behavior, they classify it differently when we do it to, say, Iraquis, than when an individual does it to everyone else? What is the concrete justification for calling the behaviors different? Only that more people fall into one category, the category that says morality applies to a group of people, than fall into the other, the one who says morality only extends to myself. We label those whose morality does not extend past themselves psychopaths, we label those whose morality does not extend onto "enemies" "normal," we label those who morality extends to every living thing either saints or idiots depending on who does the labeling. It is fundamentally the same thing, extension of morality outward, and it varies only in degree of extension. I can label anything in any way I want, and I can even convince others that my label has meaning. I can justify it and sell it. But when you look at the mechanical operation of it, there are not three things happening there, there is ONE thing happening there to varying degree.


It is normal from an evolutionary sense, and that's what you were talking about, no? Morality evolved for kin selection, personal welfare, and social lubrication.

It is a problem. Ingroup/outgroups mechanisms underpin all sorts of social nastiness. The difference is that 'normal' people can apply morality to others, just less so to others not in their group. Psychopaths apply morals to no-one, other people are mere pawns in their narcissistic endeavours.

You can't say social group = 1. You're just playing some rather inane semantic argument.


No. I havent left the social arena. If all members of B extend fair treatment to members of A, but members of A do not reciprocate to members of B, and reserve their extension of fairness only to other members of A, members of A are not immoral. They are moral to members of A. The fact that B includes them but A doesnt reciprocate is a matter of degree of extension. B extends more widely than A. Both groups have a moral sense. Who qualifies to be a recipient of that moral treatment varies.


Errrm, OK.

So people who care about no-one but themselves and completely disregard others welfare are therefore moral? The people in group A do have a moral sense, because they apply it to others, but might not fully extend the same tendencies to outgroups.

Psychopaths apply it to no-one.


Notice that social interaction is occurring. Two dogs and a human. But what is not required is that the other dog protest when his fellow is being treated unfairly. He can eat up all the treats while the other dog gets "cheated." What is required is that the dog being cheated KNOWS he is being cheated, (treated unfairly) and will eventually refuse to play. Psychopaths know when THEY are being treated unfairly. They just dont feel they have to treat others fairly in return. They have a moral sense.


Yes, they have total self-regard. Morality requires applying it to others.


I majored in Philosophy, and graduated magna cum laude. I know what it is. I am saying you cant make those distinctions meaningfully unless you understand what is really at play underneath the labels. And memorizing the terms or labels and tossing them around does not equal understanding of the underlying subject matter.


Well done.

lol.


Thats because you dont seem to understand that having a baby of high relatedness means nothing at all in evolutionary terms if it does not survive to adulthood and reproduce itself. You can have a hundred babies and be an evolutionary failure if none of them survive and reproduce as well. As the mother, my odds of having my genes survive to the next generation are greater if I and my tribe dont die. Even sacrificing my tribe to save myself and my baby make no sense. A primate alone, (or with one baby) is a dead primate. Its far easier to have another baby than to find another tribe that will accept you.


Interesting points. I'm sure that went through participant's minds. You're reasoning on this. I'm glad. But about 40%, quite a large number, disagree.


You are just incorrect. They do. They know when THEY are being treated unfairly.


You mean they know when they don't get what they want?

You're playing semantics again. Fairness is about a psychopath whining he has been cheated? A completely self-serving callous individual who has no concerns about others?

lol.

Fairness is about fair play between agents. Reciprocal behaviour. Not pure self-service.


I would not disagree that. Mostly because you have only given a bit of fluff and a credit and made no argument to show how it applies.


Right. So the notion we have a moral grammar, but learn the social norms of the culture we develop in means nothing about the notion of culture/memes in the moral domain...


If morals ONLY served to make you consider fairness to others, how would that serve to further YOUR genetic line? You are taking the "others" part too far. We form social groups to benefit both others and ourselves. Our initial impulse is that we ourselves (and our genetic relateds) benefit from being in a group. Grudgers do better because they are not completely selfless. We are fair to others because in a group where others are also self interested we have to be. It is adaptive to be. You said it yourself with suckers, grudgers, cheaters, etc. You just arent applying your line of reasoning all the way through your argument because you are jumping from what one person said to another, and they arent all saying the same thing.


Nope, I'm not. You're taking it too small. And it's a bit cheeky to criticise me for jumping around, I was fairly well-focused to start off with.

Yes, you're getting there. Morality involves such things like empathy and altruism and relies on the selfish 'Me' thinking about the welfare of others and group - fairness, compassion, care, justice etc. As mammals, we have the attachment mechanism and the suggestion is that empathy and altruism to social group members is an extension of it. Thus it was extended beyond the care of young (direct relatedness) into the wider social domain (wider relatedness). Sort of co-opted, and the same for the emotional/motivational mechanisms. We benefit by being able to be open to the condition and welfare of others who can reciprocate the same care/compassion etc, rather than purely self-serving.

It's not all good, as disgust-based morality probably underpins things like homophobia.

I actually think I've talked to someone like you before. He also tried to suggest psychopathy was some sort of justifiable trait. Luckily we put such people away when they get problematic.

[edit on 19-2-2009 by melatonin]



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 01:36 PM
link   

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
...


My last [ABE: real] response, as I think the thread deserves better.


Monkeys and apes have a sense of morality and the rudimentary ability to tell right from wrong, according to new research.

In a series of studies scientists have found that monkeys and apes can make judgments about fairness, offer altruistic help and empathize when a fellow animal is ill or in difficulties. They even appear to have consciences and the ability to remember obligations.


Psychopaths have difficulties even doing that. They fail the test of 'moral sense'. Even monkey's have it, lol. Someone you seem to like sees what it's all about; E. O. Wilson...


Such a process repeated through thousands of generations inevitably gave rise to moral sentiments. With the exception of psychopaths (if any truly exist), every person vividly experiences these instincts variously as conscience, self-respect, remorse, empathy, shame, humility, and moral outrage. They bias cultural evolution toward the conventions that express the universal moral codes of honor, patriotism, altruism, justice, compassion, mercy, and redemption.


Nope, don't do so well there either. And they can be identified, but it's better viewed a dimensional trait involving a few factors than a clear binary category (also fits evolution for complex behaviours - probably multigenic).

Even your own quote from De Waal, which you praise, gets it:


The possibility that empathy resides in parts of the brain so ancient that we share them with rats should give pause to anyone comparing politicians with those poor, underestimated creatures."[2]

"I've argued that many of what philosophers call moral sentiments can be seen in other species. In chimpanzees and other animals, you see examples of sympathy, empathy, reciprocity, a willingness to follow social rules. Dogs are a good example of a species that have and obey social rules; that's why we like them so much, even though they're large carnivores."[3]


Psychopaths would fail again. Not too sure on his understanding of social rules, as not all cover the moral arena (which tend to involve harm/care/fairness etc) - moral/conventional distinction. Which psychopaths appear to have issues with.

From earlier.


Theft, murder, and other behaviors also are problematic, as they lead to disunity within the group, infighting, which can allow an outside group to more easily conquer, and exterminate the group. Moral behavior, when looked at this way, simply seems to be "what helps the group survive" and tends to run counter to the more "selfish gene" theory that says the individuals survival and benefit trumps all.

In modern human society, we have two sets of morals. We have the "group" morals being practiced by the majority. And we have the "individual" morals practiced by the few. The very wealthy. Allowing them to benefit both from the group and their own selfishness. They seek evolutionary advantage by benefiting from the altruism of the group, which is our primary survival strategy, but seek individual advantage by not being altruists themselves, which is technically only a workable strategy if you have altruists to farm.


This is where your problem comes from, I think.

The 'wealthy' can be classed as an ingroup. It's not even a modern thing (s'pose depends on comparison). Maybe you need some more 'class consciousness' in the US. You correctly point out that 'what helps the group survive' is one salient point (and the group tended to carry related genes). But then you misinterpret Dawkins' idea of selfish genes, and suggest it's about individual survival trumping all - it's nothing like that. Dawkins gave a clear example with the 'green beard effect'.

But this can also be applied to many types of cultural features (and even minimal features; see Tajfel) which allow social identification and group categorisation (clothing, accent, hair style (lol) etc etc). Morals initially worked in small group settings, aiding the survival of related genes and the group. We have gone beyond that into the global arena.

You actually seem to be wrongly associating 'selfish genes' with these supposed individual 'moral' actors. We'd just call them amoral bastids, and it has little to do with selfish humans (i.e., selfish genes).

From the earlier Wilson piece:


The dark side of the inborn propensity to moral behavior is xenophobia. Because personal familiarity and common interest are vital in social transactions, moral sentiments evolved to be selective. People give trust to strangers with effort, and true compassion is a commodity in chronically short supply. Tribes cooperate only through carefully defined treaties and other conventions. They are quick to imagine themselves the victims of conspiracies by competing groups, and they are prone to dehumanize and murder their rivals during periods of severe conflict. They cement their own group loyalties by means of sacred symbols and ceremonies. Their mythologies are filled with epic victories over menacing enemies.


Which I agree with. Morality also acts as a social bond and helps consolidate the social group. As I pointed out earlier, morals do tend to be culturally bound, suggesting a more universal instinct (grammar?) rather than complete moral language (the meme/social learning) embedded in biology. And interactions with novel/untrusted outgroups (and individuals) need work. The issue is that in modern society we have gone well beyond living in rather small related groups into a highly interactive world. Multiple sometimes fragmented groups all interacting and aiming to benefit, readily leading to misunderstanding and conflict.

But to reduce 'social group' to 'self' in an effort to claim psychopaths indeed have a 'moral sense'? lol, no. They have a sense of how to best manipulate people to their own nefarious selfish ends with little empathy, remorse, or care for others around them.

Most are a bit rubbish, though. As we act to protect the welfare of the group by putting them in a special place.

Catch ya around.

[edit on 19-2-2009 by melatonin]



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 03:05 PM
link   

Originally posted by melatonin

Psychopaths have difficulties even doing that. They fail the test of 'moral sense'.


plato.stanford.edu...


The Definition of Morality
First published Wed Apr 17, 2002; substantive revision Mon Feb 11, 2008

The term “morality” can be used either

1. descriptively to refer to a code of conduct put forward by a society or,
1. some other group, such as a religion, or
2. accepted by an individual for her own behavior or
2. normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.



"Accepted by an individual for her own behavior."

Not everyone agrees with you that morality is ALL about how you treat others. Just because it commonly includes treatment of others, does not mean it is limited to that.

Saying all of x is p is not the same as saying all of p is x.



Originally posted by melatonin
But then you misinterpret Dawkins' idea of selfish genes, and suggest it's about individual survival trumping all - it's nothing like that. Dawkins gave a clear example with the 'green beard effect'.


I have NEVER suggested that individual survival trumps all in evolutionary terms. How you can even attribute that to my argument amazes me. And leads me to believe that you are right, this thread does deserve better.




[edit on 19-2-2009 by Illusionsaregrander]



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 03:24 PM
link   

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
"Accepted by an individual for her own behavior."


yes, well done, illusions. You win. You found a dictionary. Knock out by definition.

Have a cookie.

Enjoy.

Your ability to misrepresent will, I'm sure, become legendary...


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Moral behavior, when looked at this way, simply seems to be "what helps the group survive" and tends to run counter to the more "selfish gene" theory that says the individuals survival and benefit trumps all.



Originally posted by melatonin
But then you misinterpret Dawkins' idea of selfish genes, and suggest it's about individual survival trumping all - it's nothing like that. Dawkins gave a clear example with the 'green beard effect'.



Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
I have NEVER suggested that individual survival trumps all in evolutionary terms. How you can even attribute that to my argument amazes me. And leads me to believe that you are right, this thread does deserve better.


You win the internets.

lol

Have fun with the cookie.

ABE:


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
I do not have access to the original article, but you may if you want to see for yourself.

Since definition alone seems to make you petulant.


Nope, your posts are totally full of awesome and win.

Luckily I do have access, but I already know of James Blair's work, and the data is fairly conflicting. There is the possibility they can process disgust information functionally, but to apply that to disgust-based morality (Eww! Gay sex is digusting, and therefore immoral; cf. conservatives) in psychopaths is yet to be seen.


Emotion. 2002 Dec;2(4):398-411.

Facial affect recognition in criminal psychopaths.
Kosson DS, Suchy Y, Mayer AR, Libby J.

Prior studies provide consistent evidence of deficits for psychopaths in processing verbal emotional material but are inconsistent regarding nonverbal emotional material. To examine whether psychopaths exhibit general versus specific deficits in nonverbal emotional processing, 34 psychopaths and 33 nonpsychopaths identified with Hare's (R. D. Hare, 1991) Psychopathy Checklist--Revised were asked to complete a facial affect recognition test. Slides of prototypic facial expressions were presented. Three hypotheses regarding hemispheric lateralization anomalies in psychopaths were also tested (right-hemisphere dysfunction, reduced lateralization, and reversed lateralization). Psychopaths were less accurate than nonpsychopaths at classifying facial affect under conditions promoting reliance on right-hemisphere resources and displayed a specific deficit in classifying disgust. These findings demonstrate that psychopaths exhibit specific deficits in nonverbal emotional processing.


Other studies show no differences in any facial emotion recognition, some show it specifically for fear. But populations differ (ASD vs. kids vs. criminal psychopaths etc etc).

If they can show the capability for disgust-based morality, then, yes, you will win. I'll even give you another cookie. Psychopaths will have moral sense because they are able to say because some behaviours (masturbating in then eating a dead chicken; eating roadkill pet dog) are disgusting, they are immoral, whilst parading around manipulating and callously treating everyone they meet in a self-serving fashion, with no sense of fairness, empathy, remorse.

Whoopee!

V

[edit on 19-2-2009 by melatonin]



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 04:08 PM
link   
reply to post by melatonin
 


www.mellyoitzl.org...


Disgust based morality is currently believed to be intact in people with psychopathy, because brain regions that mediate this kind of morality are not thought to be dysfunctional in people with psychopathy (3).


(3) Blair, J., Marsh, A.A., Finger, E., Blair, K.S., Luo, J. 2006. Neuro-cognitive systems involved in morality. Philosophical
Explorations 9 (1).

I do not have access to the original article, but you may if you want to see for yourself.

Since definition alone seems to make you petulant.



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 04:38 PM
link   

Originally posted by melatonin

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
"Accepted by an individual for her own behavior."


yes, well done, illusions. You win. You found a dictionary. Knock out by definition.

Have a cookie.

Enjoy.

You're ability to misrepresent will, I'm sure, become legendary...


Perhaps someday I will even be considered as great at misrepresentation as you.

In the first quote, do you notice that there is the word "more" in front of "selfish gene theory?" It was not accidental. If I should be chastised for anything it is where I put the quotes. I should have put them only around "selfish." The more "selfish" gene theory that says individual survival and benefit trumps all. I am not saying ALL selfish gene theory states that, I am saying there is a range, (and you have problems with ranges, as your world seems very black and white,) and contrasting group survival with the more selfish individual survival end of the spectrum.

And I responded to your assertion that I was slandering Dawkins with evidence that Dawkins remains unconvinced that selection can happen at the group level, though he accepts kin selection.

en.wikipedia.org...-River_Out_of_Eden-13


Although Richard Dawkins and fellow advocates of the gene-centered view of evolution remain unconvinced (see, for example, [14][15][16]), Wilson & Sober's work has been part of a broad revival of interest in multilevel selection as an explanation for evolutionary phenomena. Indeed, in a 2005 article[17], E. O. Wilson argued that kin selection could no longer be thought of as underlying the evolution of extreme sociality, for two reasons. First, some authors have shown that the argument that haplodiploid inheritance, characteristic of the Hymenoptera, creates a strong selection pressure towards nonreproductive castes is mathematically flawed (e.g. [18]). Secondly, eusociality no longer seems to be confined to the hymenopterans; increasing numbers of highly social taxa have been found in the years since Wilson's foundational text on sociobiology was published in 1975[12], including a variety of insect species, as well as a rodent species (the naked mole rat). Wilson suggests the equation for Hamilton's rule:[19]


You just build those straw men and keep knocking them down.

Edit to add;

And no one cares about your cookies. Perhaps you should console yourself with one. No one was arguing that psychopathic behavior was "nice." And your suggestion that I might find it appealing is petty. You are the one who ran off on a several post tangent that morality HAS to be about others. When what you seemed to be discussing was actually empathy.

I personally find intra-species predators repugnant. Even when our culture allows and in fact rewards it. As is the case with many of the wealthy and powerful.

[edit on 19-2-2009 by Illusionsaregrander]



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 05:08 PM
link   

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
In the first quote, do you notice that there is the word "more" in front of "selfish gene theory?" It was not accidental. If I should be chastised for anything it is where I put the quotes. I should have put them only around "selfish." The more "selfish" gene theory that says individual survival and benefit trumps all. I am not saying ALL selfish gene theory states that, I am saying there is a range, (and you have problems with ranges, as your world seems very black and white,) and contrasting group survival with the more selfish individual survival end of the spectrum.


lolwut?

Where the hell does that come from? You're just making stuff up.


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Moral behavior, when looked at this way, simply seems to be "what helps the group survive" and tends to run counter to the more "selfish gene" theory that says the individuals survival and benefit trumps all.



Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Evolutionary biology has to move away from Dawkin's "selfish individual gene" theory just a tad and recognize group selection more. It is beginning to.



Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Although I agree that there need be no conflict between group selection and selfish genes. With Dawkins, as often happens, people get locked into their own theories and reject conflicting ones.



The Selfish Gene is a book on evolution by Richard Dawkins, published in 1976. It builds upon the principal theory of George C. Williams's first book Adaptation and Natural Selection. Dawkins coined the term selfish gene as a way of expressing the gene-centred view of evolution, which holds that evolution is best viewed as acting on genes and that selection at the level of organisms or populations almost never overrides selection based on genes. An organism is expected to evolve to maximize its inclusive fitness—the number of copies of its genes passed on globally (rather than by a particular individual). As a result, populations will tend towards an evolutionarily stable strategy.

wikilolwut

I'm going. Tattie-bye. You actually scare me now. You win. You are awesome. The internet is yours. Here's your reward...



ABE:


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
How what I posted above contradicts what was in that selection from the Wikipedia article on group selection I will never know.



jeez, you are irritating. I'll answer this to hopefully allow us all to move on.

I don't care. I don't mind group selection. Take it up with Dawkins. I'm sure he'll love you like I do. The point is your rather obtuse intellectual gymnastics and blatent scatology in some crazy pursuit of winning an argument.

You have won. Well done. Bye.

............................................Me -------------------------------------->



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 05:16 PM
link   

Originally posted by melatonin


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Evolutionary biology has to move away from Dawkin's "selfish individual gene" theory just a tad and recognize group selection more. It is beginning to.




I think you just dont understand the difference between kin selection and group selection. I dont think I care to post the section on Dawkins resistance to group selection for a third time.

How what I posted above contradicts what was in that selection from the Wikipedia article on group selection I will never know.

www.clarku.edu...


Individual selection is said to occur when the heritable traits of individuals
that out-reproduce their competitors eventually come to characterize the species. Individual selection would always seem to be the natural explanation for selfish traits of humans—traits like sexual aggressiveness or food hoarding that advance the individual’s interests against those of the individual’s group. It would seem to oppose the evolution of any altruistic trait—that is, any trait of individuals that systematically favor their ompetitors. In particular, it would seem to oppose the evolution of altruism directed toward groups—that is, any trait, costly to an individual, that favors the group of which the individual is part. Most evolutionary psychologists are committed to using individual selection to account for theevolution of human behavior (Barkow, Cosmides, & Tooby, 1992), yet much human behavior appears to be altruistic, both toward other individuals and toward
groups. In resolving the contradiction between individual selection and apparent altruism in humans, evolutionary psychologists have generally allowed only two extensions of the natural selection idea, kin selection and reciprocal altruism.

Group selection is said to occur when the traits of groups that systematically
out-reproduce competing groups eventually come to characterize the species.
Group selection would seem to be a natural explanation for apparently altruistic traits in humans—traits such as group defensive behaviors that appear to advance the group’s interests over those of the individual bearing the trait. However, most evolutionary psychologists have avoided group selection explanations. The most commonly given reason is that group selection explanations are implausible— groups can only “reproduce” through the production of individuals, and any costly behavior of individuals that benefited groups would eventually be eliminated from the general population by virtue of the fact that it would be eliminated from every group of which the population was composed. This conclusion is not self-evident.
Wilson and Sober have amply demonstrated that no mathematical necessity
connects the fate of a trait within local groups of a population to the fate of a trait in the global population (Sober & Wilson, 1998; Wilson, 1980; Wilson & Sober,
1994, 1999).



And you are NOT irritating? The vast majority of your posts are insults. I dont understand the word rational, I am misrepresenting Dawkins view on group selection, I dont understand that psychopaths have no morals. If I phrase something in way you dont like, instead of just asking for clarification, you just go ahead and tell me what I meant. But you never tell me what YOU mean. Because what you do is paraphrase half a sentence from some study you never link to, and pretend that that is your argument.
And then pretend there is some consensus among all evolutionary biologists, psychologists, and philosophers that just so happens to contradict me and support you.

And then, as icing on the cake, you act like a spoiled child and name call and taunt and act dismissive at the end of the argument. Nobody but you cares who "won." You dont "win" in science. You propose a theory and someone else either counters or supports. If you are lucky. If you arent lucky, someone just tells you you are wrong, for all the wrong reasons, and ignores the body of your argument to pick up on small word choices and then act as though that word choice somehow invalidates the whole argument.

You are petty. And unpleasant. And if you wanted the whole thing to be over so badly you should have just stated YOUR argument instead of paraphrasing everyone elses.

It would have been much quicker for you to just say, "Ur dumb, and Iz not." and we could have all moved on much quicker. Because in essence, thats all youve left us with besides several cookies.

[edit on 19-2-2009 by Illusionsaregrander]



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 06:41 PM
link   

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
You are petty. And unpleasant.


Aww, schucks. Thanks :wub:


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
I am misrepresenting Dawkins view on group selection


Now you're misrepresenting your misrepresentation.


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Moral behavior, when looked at this way, simply seems to be "what helps the group survive" and tends to run counter to the more "selfish gene" theory that says the individuals survival and benefit trumps all.



Individual selection is said to occur when the heritable traits of individuals that out-reproduce their competitors eventually come to characterize the species. Individual selection would always seem to be the natural explanation for selfish traits of humans—traits like sexual aggressiveness or food hoarding that advance the individual’s interests against those of the individual’s group. It would seem to oppose [yah, 'seems'] the evolution of any altruistic trait—that is, any trait of individuals that systematically favor their ompetitors. In particular, it would seem to oppose the evolution of altruism directed toward groups—that is, any trait, costly to an individual, that favors the group of which the individual is part. Most evolutionary psychologists are committed to using individual selection to account for the evolution of human behavior (Barkow, Cosmides, & Tooby, 1992), yet much human behavior appears to be altruistic, both toward other individuals and toward groups. In resolving the contradiction [yah, 'seems', 'twas but a grand illusion - resolved in 1964 (and maybe Fisher in the 30s)] between individual selection and apparent altruism in humans, evolutionary psychologists [hmm, not just them, been around a while] have generally allowed only two extensions of the natural selection idea, kin selection and reciprocal altruism.



The selfish gene theory postulates that natural selection will increase the frequency of those genes whose phenotypic effects ensure their successful replication. A gene for altruism can be favored by selection if the altruism is primarily directed at other individuals who share the same gene (kin selection).

A green-beard effect gene (or linked genes) produces three phenotypic effects:

a perceptible trait — the hypothetical green beard;
recognition of this trait in others; and
preferential treatment to those recognized.
So, this gene is directly recognizing copies of itself, regardless of average relatedness.

Green-beard altruism could, strictly speaking, increase the presence of green-beard phenotypes in a population even if genes are assisting other genes that are not exact copies of themselves in a molecular sense: all that is required is that they produce the three phenotypic characteristics described above. Green beard genes are vulnerable to mutant genes arising that produce the perceptible trait without the helping behaviour.

The idea of a green-beard gene was proposed by William D. Hamilton in his landmark article of 1964 and named by Richard Dawkins in his classic book The Selfish Gene of 1976.

wikilowut

And one original thought (At least, I think it is - only so many good ideas in the world. I'm known to have them sometimes! It's like a weird brain fart), as I mentioned earlier, perhaps a pseudogreen-beard effect also works through cultural characteristics (accent, dress, hair styles, tattoos etc), which would have been signals of ingroup and kin (and still are). So it would probably depend on the ability for imitation, conformity, etc of those we most closely interact with (in the evolutionary past - small kin group). Essentially expressed thru' cultural memes. All a bit haywire now, of course. You might even call it 'group selection', but if the group was originally related kin, don't see any big problem for the Dawk.

Catch ya around.

[edit on 19-2-2009 by melatonin]



posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 10:43 PM
link   
An article with a similar title Primates Show the Beginnings of Morality, Say Researchers from a couple years ago but interesting to see more examples in parallel.


Primates show basic elements of morality, say researchers attending what is billed as the first major conference devoted to the thinking processes of chimps.

The Chicago Tribune news service reports that participants at the Lincoln Park Zoo conference are studying such case histories as that of Knuckles, a chimp who has cerebral palsy that prevents him from defending himself, but nonetheless is not subject to the typical aggression of chimp society, apparently because his counterparts have compassion for their fellow chimp.

The New York Times notes that the moral aspects of chimp life have been noted before. “Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others,” writes reporter Nicholas Wade. “Given the chance to get food by pulling a chain that would also deliver an electric shock to a companion, rhesus monkeys will starve themselves for several days,” he adds.

“Biologists argue that these and other social behaviors are the precursors of human morality,” Wade writes. “They further believe that if morality grew out of behavioral rules shaped by evolution, it is for biologists, not philosophers or theologians, to say what these rules are.”

But a report from the Washington Post argues that the human-animal morality connection cuts both ways. Frans de Waal, a speaker at the Chicago conference, recounts several incidents in which bad human behavior, such as a corporate executive tossing a chair, is reflective of chimp aggression, as is the behavior of a boss who scolds a subordinate for talking in the hallway with someone of whom he did not approve.

“Chimpanzees also divide and rule,” de Waal told the Post. “You have an alpha male, and he will try to keep his supporters away from his rivals. His supporters are in trouble if they groom one of his rivals.”



new topics

top topics



 
16
<< 1  2  3    5  6 >>

log in

join