Arnold Kling  

The Haidt Report

I'll Back Down on PC... Your PC Experience...

Jonathan Haidt writes

The normal person (once animated by emotion) engages in moral reasoning to find ammunition, not truth; the normal person attacks the motives and character of her opponents when it will be advantageous to do so. The scientist, in contrast, respects empirical evidence as the ultimate authority and avoids ad hominem arguments.

Sort of like when I said that an academic is supposed to know the difference between a person and an argument. But Haidt goes on to raise doubts about the ability of even great academics to achieve objectivity.

Haidt has been popping up all over recently, so you must read him. In addition to the article linked above, don't miss Will Wilkinson's outstanding unpublished article or Nicholas Wade's profile. Thanks to Tyler Cowen for the pointer.

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COMMENTS (2 to date)
Matt writes:

I read the link, I like Haidt's work.

What I do in these discussions is I get my dualism theory in order, in my head. We all need to decide if we believe in dual independent instinctual developments in evolution, that we are dual instict based, because most of these lines of research diverge based upon one's "dualism".

Matt writes:

If you want an example of a dualist theory of evolution, here it is.

Evolution, a long time ago, was solving the problem of multi-cellular oganisms, asexual and sexual resproduction. It could not give up asexual reprodution because sexual reproduction evolved on it using someting called alternating of generations.

So, the big bang of evolution was the idea that a multicellular organism could host internal asexual reproduction if it could inject the sexual offspring into a safe environemtn for mating.

Under this theory, we have two masters, one wants the host protected from and nourished by the environment, and the other wants to get very very close to something supporting an enviroment for mating. The two form the basic modes of the multicellular organism.

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