Jonathan Haidt – The Rationalist Delusion in Moral Psychology

Jonathan Haidt – The Rationalist Delusion in Moral Psychology

Jonathan Haidt, professor at New York University Stern School of Business and best-selling author of “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion,” gives a special lecture on moral psychology at Rutgers University for the School of Arts and Sciences Signature Course, Human Nature and Human Diversity, taught by Rutgers philosophy professor, Dr. Stephen Stich.

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December 5, 2013 / 41 Comments / by / in
  • Great lecture- My one complaint is the wording intuitive and rational, because if you look at the process of creating it takes intuition and heaps of rationality.

  • 22:50
    What about making the guy on the left aware that the kid can't see? Yes, he might refuse, and then you know he's a jackass. And what do you suppose is the result from that? Either he gives the box to the kid in recognition, or he keeps it, and people give him the evil eye, and social consequences follow, perhaps including someone forcibly taking the box.

    After all, the box is not established as His in this example, nor is he on his property. Thus, it is a community box and community space. And, given that he is still able to see after giving the box, there is little reason he would not.

    Therefore, in all likelihood, he would give the box. So frikken TELL him the child can't see – he probably doesn't realize it!

  • I was with him until the atheist topic. Those are some pretty serious names he's throwing around. I wish they were there to defend themselves.

  • Why would someone not like their little sister having sex ? Why is this rational ? There is an easy answer. Man forms society for comfort and safety from barbarians. These are the benefits of society. Society, like any system requires a set of laws from which to operate. Society requires families to be strong, otherwise genetic issues come into play (sleeping with ones mother, etc without knowing). Also the family to exist requires laws and an intimacy from which to draw strength. This is why premaritial sex is forbidden. Theft, murder, premarital sex, are all forbidden by all religions except Judiaism, which permits the goyim to be murdered, robbed and raped. Johnny boy here is a Jew. Learning ethics from a Jew would be like learning to swim from a rock.

  • At 32:20 he attempts to show "New Atheist" as having just as much faith as religion and even more faith than he has; I think in general this is a non-telling argument. I have watched 4-5 talks now from Haidt and I think selective presenting is an issue because he only leans halfway into a topic and never finished out how the argument can be approached from both sides or why. In this specific instance I think he uses a confirmation bias approach without considering what the outcome really means. If he submitted the books to the algorithm and it had a lower outcome would he even present the data? It is almost like saying "I am never absolute on anything but those guys are absolutely absolute about everything." .

    I want to show here just a glimpse of critical thinking in his results could lead to vastly different conclusions. This is not telling of the truth but it implements something Heidt seems to think doesn't exist which is critical thinking of other possible reasons things could be.

    1. If a book about a topic has a lot anger / contempt in it may be more reflective of the topic than the author. For example if I say "Christians seem to have a higher rate of hatred for homosexual actions than someone that is an atheist " then I would get pinged for using the word hatred there even though I am referencing their hatred and not my own.

    2. Using absolute certainty does not make someone wrong. If the books he used argued against unicorns then the certainty would be justified. This sort of mindset is the one that leads to the thoughts that all peoples opinions are equal even if they are not. Person A is certain unicorns exists and person B is certain unicorns do not exist is not an equal claim. Keeping your mind open is good but saying that you should consider all claims equally is not.

  • He went well until he got to the atheism bit. And then it started to unravel a little.

  • Granted, but it seems to me that it's better to be fanatical about science and reason than religion, although I must say that I am against any extremism. Both religious and secular theories may be hijacked and misused by certain groups so its probably safer not to cling fanatically to any doctrine.
    Also I do agree that humans are hardwired to form groups and communities and lets be fair before Christianity we had quite the number of other religions and even if New Atheists somehow succeed, then how long will it take us to invent another one? The issue is not religion per se but humans who need that element of delusion in their lives.

  • Rationalism is to me natural and I find his arguments irrelevant to explaining how and why our minds actually work.

    To me he is saying experience alone is all that matters which to me is not how the scientific forefathers like Leibniz or Descartes or Sir. Francis Bacon saw the world.

    If I am deluisional then blame nature for giving me reason. I will stay a Ratioalist.

  • incest is wrong because our minds are tricked they dont know about birth control

  • Correct that Harris, Dawkins are dogmatic with some of their assertions not unlike the religious crowd. In their defense, Intuition IS reasoning at the subconcsious level – it is NOT an alternative to reason, but a means to harness reasoning that escapes our ability to articulate.

  • Find it funny when people use the bible as an argument against incest, just got to read the it alittle of the ways in.

  • 29:30 You strawman rationality and Atheists. What "New Atheists" have claimed that religion is not an adaptation. Not all adaptations are optimal.

  • My guess for Dennett's "certainty" rating is because he uses hypothetical speech and characterizations often, spelling out the arguments of his opponents. Doing an indiscriminate word search of his books would not take this fact into account.

  • Damn… Every good idea that pops in my head, someone has already done it… I swear, one day I will come up with something unique. Great vid!

  • OK, Mr. Haidt, why don't you come up with a reasoned argument against the proposition: "Humans must act." Shouldn't be hard, according to your own theory. Of course since the mere act of trying to deny the proposition is a human act, you will be refuting yourself on the spot. Rationalism wins. Period. It is an undeniable, rational fact that humans must act, regardless of how one feels about it. All due credit: this is Ludwig Von Mises' argument, and it is decisive. Hume was wrong about the second part of his famous statement: reason OUGHT NOT to be the slave of the passions (even if it turns out it is in practice).

  • Meh. Kind of a smug cunt in this one.
    Picking a fight with Rationalism using Science is kind of a weak move. You trust your results are reliable because they can be measured scientifically -why are Rationalists not as credible? Because measuring certainty brings them into a category near those of the emphatically irrational?
    So Sam Harris, Pope Benedict the 4th and Donald Trump are cognitively equivalent for sharing nearly brains nearly identical on a physical level?
    I don't think he's saying conviction and data have the same value, but calling Rationalists wrong because they believe in their conclusions is unimpressive and …irrational.

  • 43:50 and on… first year student? Do these kind of things really need to be explained to physics student?

  • I can't disagree with the sad conclusion that it is often a better choice to essentially trick people into doing the right thing if you can not convince them, but not only is this whole argument a total straw vulcan, it is also self-refuting. If you can't learn critical thinking, then how did you learn about cognitive biases? The reason philosophers are sadly often looked down upon by scientists is because manyof the former crowd do indeed use obscurantist and misleading sophistry to avoid honestly resolving many a dilemma, but that is a misapplication of the trade, it doesn't mean that philosophy is useless or unnecessary.

  • Gotta love the Atheists who get offended he dared to bring up Harris and Dawkins…. Proving his point 🙂

  • From Haidt's ideas on thought post Libet (1999) and Nisbett and Wilson (1978), is after the event moral justification or, would it be fair to say that thoughts are excuses? Thought = after the even moral justification = excuses?

    Personally I think that that thought is not so much an excuse (thought it is that too) practice for actual excuse speech, but useless, and not for saying to others, but to keep us self divided, with the results argued by Adam smith. We act continually at a distance, "split" from ourselves, a spectator of ourselves, representing ourselves to ourselves, with the results that self interest is no longer so selfish, and that as a result there is an "invisible hand" that allows human freedom to thrive economically.

    The important thing is that reason should be thought to be useful (as decision making, or even excuse making) so we keep doing it.

  • 13:00 Hume's model! I think that he calls it the Possum model in his paper.

    I like the way that the model provides two paths one to society the other to the self and they are different.

    We think we are reasoning for one reason (to evaluate, make excuses, make self love) when really we are working for mammon.

  • About 16:00 Wheatley & Haidt 2005 Flash of disgust when you see the word "take" (or "often") about 10% more wrong and 1/3 of subjects condemned Dan 15:23 "I don't know it just seems like he's up to something" "popularity seeking snob" "brown-nosing" for doing nothing wrong "he tries to to take (pick) topics that appeal to both professors and students in order to stimulate discussion." Disgust motivates reasoning.

    "Press secretary. Find me a justification for condemning Dan."
    "I think that we can nail this guy on brown nosing"

    Wheatley, T., & Haidt, J. (2005). Hypnotic Disgust Makes Moral Judgments More Severe. Psychological Science, 16(10), 780–784.

    16:26 Fart spray , dirty desks, trainspotting video moral condemnationSchnall, S., Haidt, J., Clore, G. L., & Jordan, A. H. (2008). Disgust as Embodied Moral Judgment. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(8), 1096–1109.
    When asked general knowledge questions for which the subjects had an
    anchor their response deviated further from the anchor when shaking than
    when nodding their heads. I.e. they would think that the anchor is wrong if they are shaking their head and right if they are nodding. E.g what is the boiling point of water on Everest? What Temperature does Vodka freeze at? The anchor in each case is the boiling point of water at sea level and the freezing point of water. Epley, N., & Gilovich, T. (2001). Putting Adjustment Back in the Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic: Differential Processing of Self-Generated and Experimenter-Provided Anchors. Psychological Science, 12(5), 391–396.
    Perhaps the Japanese would think of pictorial anchors.

  • 33:12 on the frequency of anger and certainty words in religious and new atheist books. This work may not be published which is a shame.

  • There is research by Kim (2002) to suggest that East Asians do not think in language and really bad research by me to suggest that East Asians think in pictures (Kim argues for intuitionist, as does Professor Haidt).

    Bu if it were the case that imagination (thinking in images) is equivalent to self-talk then it becomes difficult to hold the "press secretary" excuse-making, practice-for-communication theory of thought since imaginations are difficult to express to others. East Asians do not whip out their sketch pads and justify their behaviour with manga.

    Personally I think that thought and imagination are both dually motived as in the social intuitionist model described having a separate social and individual impact, as described most persuasively imho by Adam Smith

    1) On the one, individual, hand both self talk and imagination allow us to split ourselves into self and impartial spectator. Mead has it we split ourselves into self and generalised other to evaluate ourselves but in Smith (and me) it is more the other way around, our self evaluation allows our self splitting and it is splitting which is the individual goal, since it allows "preening" (Smith) or primary narcissism (Freud) or auto-eroticism (Derrida).

    2) On the societal level our preening encourages us to keep working and producing way beyond our biological desire, which is still nonetheless limited by our non-objectified, truer being "the invisible hand."

    This system of self-division, at the root of capitalism, was good for economic growth but may have seen its time.

    Professor Haidt is now writing a book on capitalism.

  • I love this guy! He and Jordan Peterson are two absolute treasures that I've discovered within the last few months. I mention Peterson because that's how I heard of Jonathan Haidt.

  • @30:55 — FOUND IT!!! Finally proof Jon loses his cool!

  • 57:11 An interesting take on moral truth. New to me, but one I find quite satisfying for some – as of yet – inarticulate reason.

  • SO that starting video is what got Jonathan Haidt into trouble with the illiberal left in universities?

  • @47 mins. its not different when we consider that we all trust axioms

  • No mention of natural law, a huge omission. (and leaded gas? Really? Nothing to do with how inner city kids are raised without fathers and, in the time period he was talking about, during the crack epidemic? Has he seen Chicago murder stats lately?)

  • What was the date of this presentation please?

  • Familiarity breeds contempt. There is a religious and a genetic argument to be made against incest. There is also a common sense argument to be made. My siblings and I occasionally squabble. The older we get the less we squabble but we still have minor disagreements from time to time. We are also fiercely loyal to one another. There is no sexual history, good, bad or indifferent to threaten that cohesion. Our fierce sense of loyalty is cemented by famial love and loyalty which should be stronger than sexual love. A parent is typically militantly loyal to their children to the point that they will even allow their child to suffer negative consequences for bad behavior in hopes that it will modify their behavior for the positive. However, woe be to any person who tries to unjustly make that child suffer. As the old saying goes: Don't fuck with mama bear and papa bear.

  • The reason crime dropped in 1993 is because abortion became legal in 1973. The theory is that when abortion was illegal mothers who were in dire financial distress couldn't give them the care and attention they needed which results in a higher change of become a criminal for the child. Mothers would also have babies they didn't want which led to resentment and resulted in psychological issues for the child which increased the likely hood of crime.
    The proof is that 18 years after abortion (The time when children can enter the justice system) crime rates statistics started to drop dramatically. Google this, I am not making this up.

  • This must be the lecture where that one moral imbecile female student snowflake got offended over the video, reported Johnatan to the administration, demanded he apologize, wasn't happy with the apology and demanded he be fired.

  • 'Infidels' isn't an insult?

  • Honestly the brother and sister fucking story does not bother me 1 bit, I can't be the only one.

  • At 0:57:20 he discusses moral relativism. For the atheist's worldview to make sense, morality must emerge as a result of contingent aspects of the development of mankind. Unfortunately for the atheist, C.S. Lewis pointed out a simple fact: on the emergentist view, had we evolved from animals that had the social structure of bees, it would be morally acceptable (indeed, probably obligatory) for fertile women to slaughter one another (_reductio ad absurdum_).

    The cartoon at about 0:23:00 is misleading. More appropriate would be the following: When government distributes boxes. only a few privileged elites get enough to rise above misery. In a free market (buttressed by voluntary charity, with government programmes only for extreme situations), boxes are available to all, so that those who do the most productive work get the most boxes.

  • I think it's relatively easy to undermine the claim that the "New Atheists" (would have liked to have seen Hitchens book evaluated as well) by the use of declarative language because the books are arguing that science and reason should not be supplanted in the schools by religion.  So arguing that evolution "certainly, indisputably, inescapably" is supported by evidence whereas there is "no, zero, admittedly and absurdly little" evidence would not be born of anger, but is true.

  • someone once told me that libertarians have a lower standard of morality, because we tend to value liberty above all else. after pondering on this for a while, i feel like the statist had a point, but i don't think all libertarians are quite as idealistic as me when it comes to personal freedom.

    for instance, this bit on the brother sister incest, while i am not fond of it, especially if they are biological siblings, i believe i and no one else has a right to tell them no. the core principle of Voluntaryism, which is the type of Libertarian i identify as, dictates the Non-Aggression Principle, thus, only self-defense is acceptable.

    now, i could choose to boycott this such person who is having incest, i could convince others that they should be shunned or ignored, even fired from their jobs, if i and the local community had that big of problem with it. but i would call for no force or harm to such people.

    i try to analyze things rationally, and while i am from a safe place right now, in my room, being able to easily disconnect and compartmentalize my thinking, this exact situation logically to me doesn't seem to be a big deal. my reasoning is that the brother and sister at least took extra precaution to not get pregnant, and i respect that at least.

    the main reason i believe most people don't support incest anymore is because over the many years we saw a connection to corruption in the geneline, recessive genes were showing up more often, and various risks for mental issues in the offspring.

    the thing about incest is though, the actual risks on average are not that extremely high, or not as high as people may think due to sensationalized media promoting the idea that "cousin fucking" creates these monstrous demons and retarded giants as seen in horror movies.

    there hasn't even been a scientific study on brother sister offspring issues because the topic is so taboo to begin with, we can't even take a step back to analyze. but according to the very limited research for mating with cousins, the risk for a mental disorder is about 5.5%-6.5%~ and the normal average rate for non-incest offspring is about 2.5-3%~

    but there are always other factors, of course, like the recessive gene stuff and whatnot. so while i wouldn't say incest should be readily acceptable, i think it should be tolerated by law, and then let local communities handle it, so long as they are transparent about it.

    another thing, i simply don't believe intuition should be the main arbitrary factor, reason should. i believe intuition serves reason, but if you go purely on intuition, it can lead to sloppy results, or at least, from what i understand of intuition.

    intuition can definitely be a guide and a tie-breaker in your mind, but i honestly don't trust intuition, at least not my own intuition. i've had a gut feeling for years, since i was 16, i was going to die of cancer, i was going to get diabetes, i was going to be killed when passing through the ghetto, but it never happened (yet).

    i think my intuition might be faulty or broken, and since i'm a fairly extreme libertarian now, you could even be one of those statists who claim i lack moral compass. and i would say "fair enough, maybe you're right" but this is just who i am and how i think.

  • Haidt gives an account of moral philosophy which is problematic because it's monist, then implies that that covers the whole of moral philosophy, until psychologists like him came along to the rescue. This is itself, ironically, too simplistic. Philosophers have had a wide range of views on the relation of reason and emotion and intuition to ethics, and on moral epistemology, and on pluralism or monism of values. Even the snide remark that philosophers aren't any better than the rest of us is based upon a view of moral knowledge which not all philosophers share.

  • 25 mins ITS NOT LEAD ITS TESTOSTERONE by atrazine glyphosate and spy ,milk formula/

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