Moral Psychology

Ashley Pettit

Moral Psychology__

This Moral Psychology article talks about how making good or bad decisions is based more on a situation than on an individual. This is characteristic of virtue ethics. It basically means that different things matter more to different people so some people can be influenced by things that don’t matter very much. It just depends on the situation a person is in. One of the biggest parts of the Moral Psychology article was the section comparing egoism and altruism. It discusses if people’s motives are truly altruistic (doing something that benefits others, but could be dangerous for himself) or egoist (only do something because it’s in your best interests). One researcher, Daniel Batson argues that altruism is when a person feels empathy towards another person who is upset or anxious. He named it the empathy-altruism hypothesis and explained it as “an other-oriented emotional reaction to seeing someone suffer.” The philosophical view of this hypothesis is that people who actually feel empathy towards others are also more likely to help others in need than people who feel no empathy. There are two other hypotheses that dispute the empathy-altruism hypothesis. The first is the social punishment hypothesis. It predicted that the only way a person would help someone else is because they were scared of what society would think of them if they didn’t. The results of the experiment showed that the people who felt the most empathy were likely to help someone else regardless of what society thought, therefore this hypothesis isn’t very reliable. The other hypothesis is the aversive-arousal reduction. It predicted that if somebody was suffering and a person who felt a lot of empathy had to choose between an easy escape and a hard escape from watching the suffering person, they would help either way. Surprisingly, this hypothesis was more accurate than the social punishment hypothesis. Another topic discussed in this article was moral disagreement. The idea is that different groups and cultures disagree on morals because everybody has different attitudes and behaviors. This leads to moral disagreements between cultures because they don’t understand each other.

This article ties into what we’ve talked about in class mainly with egoism and altruism. We’ve talked about ethical egoism in class many times; it is doing what is best for yourself. We learned in class that egoism is a form of consequentialism, which is focused on the outcome of something. In the case of egoism, it is the outcome for one person. We’ve also talked about hedonism, a form of egoism, which was mentioned in the article. Hedonists are people who live for pleasure and according to the article, pleasure is a hedonist’s only desire.

1.) Why do some people have trouble transferring cognitive skills across related areas?
2.) How can an organism be altruistic if it doesn’t have beliefs or desires?
3.) What makes something be considered “normal”?

Steven Bowman

Business Ethics

An article on Business Ethics published by a newly hired junior professor examines how business schools don’t seem to care about what is right and wrong. All universities will state on their websites, their orientations, even their alumni dinners how the value of ethics are important, however most have failed to organize their faculties and standards which suggests no importance of ethics on their part. Business Ethics can be both normative and descriptive although it is primarily normative. Businesses or even people with specific goals must organize, plan, and look at their resources rather than just spread word, or hand out appealing brochures and what not. Even the top business schools in the country lack a strong foundation to this very important matter. Business Ethics are the ethical path most businesses are recommended to follow, something that should benefit not only the company itself, but the society and economy as well. Based on the author’s research people inside and outside a business discipline found that the teaching of ethics in schools should be completely abandoned, especially those in the numerical world such as Accounting and Finance. But we are in the 21st century, no one needs reminding of the condition of our country’s economy, and in an increasing marketplace the demand for business actions is too increasing.

The article and subject have been discussed in class a few times. Especially with the normative and descriptive view towards a greater society. In the world of business, it’s all about the competition and they will fill you up with normative views on how you or how this “ought” to be. This is the case with Ideology which is the set of beliefs we use. So people on one side say this is how it “ought” to be while on the other side they would say “No, that is how it ‘is’.” And vice versa.

1. Is it good to do what is good for yourself, but bad for society? Or even the opposite?
2. Should something be completely forgotten just because a very great majority thinks so?
3. Does just because something ‘ought” to be that way make it the right way?

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