Moral Psychology
note: The summary of the article and how it relates to class are tied into one.

Moral Psychology studies the structure of character or the nature for moral reasoning. We can use this theory to evaluate ethical theories, although this shouldn’t be the only thing used. Thought experiments, which try to understand humans reasoning are used frequently. A famous experiment done by Tversky and Kahneman called “heuristics and biases” studied how framing a concept or phrase can influence how people will be affected. They proposed a dilemma, similar to the trolley problem, and asked which one they would pick. The study found that ethical responses may be strongly influenced by the manner in which cases are described or framed. Moral psychology also brings a heated debate. One side, the incompatibilists say that people are held morally responsible for all their actions, even if they weren’t the ultimate source. The compatibilists deny this and believe that to be morally responsible you have to be the direct cause of this action. This relates to what we have been talking about in class recently. Using the example of Jigsaw coming to your house and asking where your friend is. Disregarding the lying aspect, the Incompatibilists will say that if you tell Jigsaw where your friend is and he is later killed, you are ultimately responsible for your friends death. The compatibilists will say that you were not the ultimate source of the behavior and are therefore not responsible. Moral Psychology is not related to utilitarianism or Kant’s ethics (Deontology). Instead, it is related to virtue ethics, which focuses on your character. It states that “it is not what sort of action you do, but what sort of person to be”. Another debate regarding moral psychology is egoism/altruism. This debate tries to theorize on why people do nice things for other people. This is related to Plato’s book, The Republic, which argues why people are just, because it is in their own benefit (Egoism) or because it’s the right thing to do(Altruism). Many experiments have been done to examine why people do what they do. One hypothesis by Batson, called the socially administered empathy-specific punishment hypothesis, cites that people do good things because they worry people will think bad of them if they don’t. Another hypothesis is the aversive-arousal reduction hypothesis which states that the empathy felt when witnessing someone in a bad position is a negative one, so people will try to help that person ought to decrease the negative feelings. Another part of moral psychology is moral disagreement. Moral disagreement is the disagreement of people about many actions. Some of these include the death penalty, abortion, gay rights, etc.

1)Why does the way something is framed affect the way we think about them?
2)Why is it that many believe psychological altruists cannot exist through evolution?
3)Why is moral disagreement wrong and moral realism right?

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