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Debunking Morality A Hodgepodge of Multipurpose Kludges

A venerable view, still very much alive in contemporary debates, urges that our spontaneous moral judgments reflect a deep wisdom, except when the processes underlying those judgments are interfered with by morally problematic forces. However, much recent work suggests that we should have a very different view of our spontaneous moral judgments. This work indicates that there is no one psychological system underlying moral judgments. Rather, there is a hodgepodge of different systems that pull in different directions. Moreover, some of these systems were designed to perform cognitive functions that have little to do with morality. When they are co-opted ...
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le (57m11s)

Egoism vs. Altruism: Deconstructing the Debate

Psychological egoism maintains that all human motivation is ultimately selfish. Though people often desire to help others, egoists maintain that these desires are always instrumental, caused or sustained by the belief that helping will lead to the satisfaction of some self-interested desire. By contrast, psychological altruism maintains that some of our ultimate or non-instrumental desires are not self-interested; their object is the well-being of others. Philosophers from Hobbes to the present have worried that if egoism is true, moral behavior may be threatened, and drastic steps have been proposed to counter this threat. Recently both psychologists and evolutionary biologists lavished ...
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