Burn the armchair

April 9, 2009 at 7:17 am 1 comment

Brooks claims that advances in cognitive science are bringing about “The End of Philosophy“:

Moral thinking is … like aesthetics. As we look around the world, we are constantly evaluating what we see. Seeing and evaluating are not two separate processes. They are linked and basically simultaneous.

Similar to how we recognize if food tastes good or bad, immediately and without any kind of reflection, so too does moral reasoning operate. It’s, in a way, irrational… emotional. Quoting from Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia,  “The emotions are, in fact, in charge of the temple of morality, and … moral reasoning is really just a servant masquerading as a high priest.”

Brooks continues:

The rise and now dominance of this emotional approach to morality is an epochal change … [that should] challenge the very scientists who study morality. They’re good at explaining how people make judgments about harm and fairness, but they still struggle to explain the feelings of awe, transcendence, patriotism, joy and self-sacrifice, which are not ancillary to most people’s moral experiences, but central. The evolutionary approach also leads many scientists to neglect the concept of individual responsibility and makes it hard for them to appreciate that most people struggle toward goodness, not as a means, but as an end in itself.

Play, think…
J.R. Atwood


Entry filed under: etc, think. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Iron Stomach Triathlon Big Gulp

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. jleeger  |  July 22, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Old ideas…but at least someone is saying them again…

    Ever read Nietzsche?

    Or, more recently, James Carse?


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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

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