The Evolutionary Psychology Of Human Morality - Rob Kurzban

The Evolutionary Psychology Of Human Morality - Rob Kurzban

Evolutionary Psychology and Abortion Policy Preferences

  • People's views on abortion policy are influenced by their genetic and fitness interests.
  • People who prefer a promiscuous lifestyle tend to support abortion services, as it reduces the cost of potential mistakes.
  • Conversely, people in monogamous relationships may oppose abortion as a way to deter their partners from straying.
  • Abortion policy preferences are driven by self-interest rather than overarching principles.

Self-Deception and Social Pressures

  • People tend to present their positions on abortion based on moral values and principles rather than acknowledging their self-interested motivations.
  • This tendency is driven by the desire to project a positive self-image and avoid appearing selfish.
  • Self-deception plays a role in concealing the true reasons behind people's positions, making it difficult to recognize and address underlying motivations.
  • The increasing polarization and lack of open dialogue in society, especially in academia, hinder the exploration of diverse perspectives and critical examination of beliefs.
  • Social media has added a new dimension to punishment, with individuals now facing public attacks and scrutiny for their opinions.

Morality as a Side-Choosing Mechanism

  • The speaker proposes a theory that morality evolved as a side-choosing mechanism to avoid being on the losing side of conflicts.
  • They argue that moral rules are created and supported by individuals based on self-interest and that some rules, such as anti-harm rules, are universally adopted while others, such as rules against charging interest, take time to be recognized as beneficial.
  • Morality is often used as a weapon to make accusations and recruit others.
  • Moral accusations can be wielded as weapons, and history is replete with examples of this.
  • People may conform to moral rules to avoid being targeted by accusations and to gain the benefits of being seen as moral.

Hypocrisy and Moral Attacks

  • Hypocrisy can be defined as cases where someone endorses a particular moral principle and then acts in a way that contradicts that principle.
  • Moral hypocrisy is problematic because it allows people to use moral principles to advance their own interests while simultaneously engaging in behaviors that they condemn in others.
  • The equation for bullying is "bullying equals attack plus impunity."
  • Certain individuals or groups may be protected from consequences when making moral accusations, leading to a situation where they can attack others without fear of retaliation.
  • Moral attacks can have lasting effects on individuals, potentially causing social ostracization, difficulty obtaining employment, and even suicide.

The Role of Reputation and Technology

  • Reputation plays a significant role in modern society, affecting income, social status, and opportunities in various areas such as the job market and the talk circuit.
  • The internet and social media have amplified the impact of moral attacks, making it harder for individuals to recover from reputational damage.
  • The ease of making accusations online, coupled with the lack of accountability and the diffusion of responsibility, contributes to the problem of harmful online behavior.

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