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The dark side: Why moral psychology is the greatest source of evil Sage Lecture #5 Dec. 8, 2008 Jonathan Haidt University of Virginia.

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Presentation on theme: "The dark side: Why moral psychology is the greatest source of evil Sage Lecture #5 Dec. 8, 2008 Jonathan Haidt University of Virginia."— Presentation transcript:

1 The dark side: Why moral psychology is the greatest source of evil Sage Lecture #5 Dec. 8, 2008 Jonathan Haidt University of Virginia

2 6 Lectures on Morality 11/10: What is morality and how does it work? 11/17: The righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion 11/24: The positive moral emotions: Elevation, awe, admiration, and gratitude 12/1: Hive psychology, group selection, and leadership 12/8: The dark side: Why moral psychology is the greatest source of evil 12/15: The light side: How to pursue happiness using ancient wisdom and modern psychology ppt files available at at bottomwww.JonathanHaidt.com

3 Morality as harm reduction: “Morality is an informal public system applying to all rational persons, governing behavior that affects others, and has the lessening of evil or harm as its goal.” (Gert, Stanford Encycl. of Phil.) “If, as I believe, morality is a system of thinking about (and maximizing) the well being of conscious creatures like ourselves, many people's moral concerns are frankly immoral.” (Harris, 2008)

4 Morality is..... Fairness/ Justice Harm/ Care “prescriptive judgments of justice, rights, and welfare pertaining to how people ought to relate to each other.” (Turiel, 1983)

5 Morality re-defined: “Moral systems are interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, technologies, and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate selfishness and make social life possible” (Haidt, in press, Handbook of social psych)

6 Keeping together in time, fascist

7

8 Three Models of Human Nature CynicRationalistIntuitionist We are selfish We strive for truth and justice (imperfectly) We have a lot of evolved automatic stuff that makes us contingently selfish and cooperative Machiavelli Freud, Dawkins Plato, Mill, Kant, Kohlberg, Turiel Hume, Darwin, E.O. Wilson, De Waal

9 The Cynical View Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. --Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

10 The Rationalist View At the heart of this tradition is a twofold intuition about human beings: namely, that all, just by being human, are of equal dignity and worth..., and that the primary source of this worth is a power of moral choice within them, a power that consists in the ability to plan a life in accordance with one's own evaluation of ends... [Political theory should be based on] the conception of human beings as essentially rational agents. ---Nussbaum, 1999, p. 57

11 Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.... (Hume, Treatise) The ultimate ends of human actions can never, in any case, be accounted for by reason, but recommend themselves entirely to the sentiments and affections of mankind. (Hume, Enquiry) The Intuitionist View

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13 Three Models of Human Nature CynicRationalistIntuitionist We are selfish We strive for truth and justice (imperfectly) We have a lot of evolved automatic stuff that makes us contingently selfish and cooperative Machiavelli Freud, Dawkins Plato, Mill, Kant, Kohlberg, Turiel Hume, Darwin, E.O. Wilson, De Waal

14 Three Models of Human Nature CynicRationalistIntuitionist We are selfish We strive for truth and justice (imperfectly) We have a lot of evolved automatic stuff that makes us contingently selfish and cooperative Machiavelli Freud, Dawkins Plato, Mill, Kant, Kohlberg, Turiel Hume, Darwin, E.O. Wilson, De Waal Expects too little Expects too much Expects complexity, extremity, inconsistency

15 The Intuitionist view 1) Intuitive primacy (but not dictatorship) 2) Moral thinking is for social doing 3) Morality binds and builds 4) Morality is about more than harm and fairness

16 The Social Intuitionist Model (Haidt, 2001) A’s IntuitionA’s Judgment A’s Reasoning B’s IntuitionB’s Judgment B’s Reasoning Four main processes: 1) the intuitive judgment link 2) the post-hoc reasoning link 3) the reasoned persuasion link 4) the social persuasion link Two rare processes: 5) the reasoned judgment link 6) the private reflection link 5 6

17 Sympathy...sympathy...forms an essential part of the social instinct, and is indeed its foundation-stone. --Darwin, Descent The play of sympathy and antipathy is a sufficient cause for practical reason to become conscious of reciprocity. --Piaget, Moral Judgment of the Child

18 Psychic Numbing (Slovic)

19 How should we value lives?

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21 How might we value lives?

22 How DO we value lives?

23 The collapse of compassion Small, Loewenstein, & Slovic, 2006 Identifiable Lives Condition: Rokia, a 7-year-old girl from Mali, Africa, is desperately poor and faces a threat of severe hunger or even starvation. Her life will be changed for the better as a result of your financial gift. With your support, and the support of other caring sponsors, Save the Children will work with Rokia’s family and other members of the community to help feed her, provide her with education, as well as basic medical care and hygiene education.

24 The collapse of compassion Small, Loewenstein, & Slovic, 2006 Statistical Lives Condition: Food shortages in Malawi are affecting more than 3 million children. In Zambia, severe rainfall deficits have resulted in a 42% drop in maize production from As a result, an estimated 3 million Zambians face hunger. Four million Angolans — one third of the population— have been forced to flee their homes. More than 11 million people in Ethiopia need immediate food assistance.

25 The collapse of compassion Small, Loewenstein, & Slovic, 2006

26 The collapse of compassion Kogut & Ritov, 2005 Mean contributions to help 1 sick child, or to help the whole group of 8 sick children

27 The collapse of compassion Vastfjall, Peters, & Slovic, in prep Compassion and charity decline at 2!

28 It is a terrible thing to admit, but the more information we consume about Darfur, the less shocking each piece of new information seems. And surely that is a part of the problem. Ignorance is not the only ally of indifference; sometimes knowledge, too, blunts the heart and the will. --Richard Just, 2008, review of books about Darfur

29 If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at one, I will. –Mother Teresa.

30 Three Models of Human Nature CynicRationalistIntuitionist We are selfish We strive for truth and justice (imperfectly) We have a lot of evolved automatic stuff that makes us contingently selfish and cooperative Machiavelli Freud, Dawkins Plato, Mill, Kant, Kohlberg, Turiel Hume, Darwin, E.O. Wilson, De Waal Expects too little Expects too much Expects complexity, extremity, inconsistency

31 1) Intuitive primacy (but not dictatorship) 2) Moral thinking is for social doing 3) Morality binds and builds 4) Morality is about more than harm and fairness The Intuitionist view

32 A) Hypocrisy --How can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye”; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (Jesus) --Clean your finger before you point at my spots. (Ben Franklin) --Though you see the seven defects of others, we do not see our own ten defects (Japanese Proverb) --A he-goat doesn’t realize that he smells. (Nigerian Proverb)

33 Functionalisms Moral thinking is done in order to Feel good. (Intrapsychic functionalism: Freud, Cialdini) 2. Find the truth. (Epistemic functionalism: Plato, Kohlberg, rationalists) 3. Succeed socially. (Social-functionalism: Darwin, Tooby, Cosmides, Dunbar) --the “interpreter module” (Gazzaniga, 1985) --the intuitive politician (Tetlock) and the ubiquity of hypocrisy (Batson)

34 Real politicians

35 B) Rationalization Rationalization may be defined as self-deception by reasoning. --Karen Horney

36 The Most Dangerous Rationalization “Russians may be hungry and short of clothes and comfort, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” --Walter Duranty, 1932, in the New York Times The road to hell: The ends justify the means Example: Lazar Kaganovich

37 Rationalization of evil You must think of humanity as one great body, but one that requires constant surgery. Need I remind you that surgery cannot be performed without cutting membranes, without destroying tissues, without the spilling of blood? Thus we must destroy whatever is superfluous. These are unpleasant acts, granted, but we do not find any of this immoral. You see, all acts that further history and socialism are moral acts. --Lazar Kaganovich, letter to his American nephew

38 1) Intuitive primacy (but not dictatorship) 2) Moral thinking is for social doing 3) Morality binds and builds 4) Morality is about more than harm and fairness The Intuitionist view

39 The 6 Ultrasocial Animals Hymenoptera: Bees wasps and ants Also: termites… and naked mole rats… Reproduce only through queen; OFA-AFO

40 The 6 th Ultrasocial: Not kinship; Massive in- group cooperation for the purpose of cross-group competition. Held together by norms and emotions.

41 The Myth of Pure Evil (Baumeister, 1997 ) 1) The evil one is purely evil; has no intelligible motive, beyond an enjoyment of harming, or a lust for power. 2) The victim is purely good, and did nothing to bring about victimization. 3) The Evil one is an outsider, not part of our group. 4) Evil is the antithesis of order, peace, stability 5) Anyone who raises doubts about the purity of either side is in league with evil (e.g., dissent is treason)

42 Cartoon evil, 1950s

43 Parody of cartoon evil, 1990s

44 Manichaeism : the world is an eternal battle between the forces of darkness and the forces of light

45 Kids are natural manichaeans

46 Grownups too

47 Natural Born Manichaean "When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us vs. them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there.“ --GWB, January

48 "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror.... This is an evil man that we’re dealing with” "Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Satan” Mirrored Manichaeans:

49 The Myth of Pure Evil (Baumeister, 1997 ) 1) The evil one is purely evil; has no intelligible motive, beyond an enjoyment of harming, or a lust for power. 2) The victim is purely good, and did nothing to bring about victimization. 3) The Evil one is an outsider, not part of our group. 4) Evil is the antithesis of order, peace, stability 5) Anyone who raises doubts about the purity of either side is in league with evil (e.g., dissent is treason)

50 A) The Causes of Terrorism Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other. --G. W. Bush, Address to Congress, 9/20/01

51 Many people, many motives (Victoroff, 2005) Sometimes crazy and/or blinded by hate

52 Many people, many motives (Victoroff, 2005) Rarely crazy or blinded by hate

53 Traditional Psychological Approaches A) Psychopathology? [No] B) Rational choice? [for govt. yes; bomber no] C) Psychoanalytic theories, [little support] D) Sociological theories? e.g., Social learning, Frustration-aggression, Relative deprivation, Oppression [little support] E) Group Process theories: T is the product of “group psych within idiosyncratic subcultures that coalesce in reaction to circumstances they perceive as intolerable” [yes]

54 Morality binds, builds, & kills “In too simple terms, terrorists kill for the same reasons that groups have killed other groups for centuries. They kill for cause and comrades, that is, with a combination of ideology and intense small-group dynamics.” --McCauley (2002) --9/11 hijackers were not motivated by hate --Atta’s manual has no hate --Anger is background of intergroup conflict, within which martyrdom becomes a moral ideal --Men on martyrdom mission are (encouraged to be) holy minded and tightly bonded

55 The history of suicide terrorism --Zealots of Judea: objected to Roman control, provoked Jewish revolt of ’66 ; extremist subgroup, the “sicarii” carried out assassinations, killed Jewish collaborators, killed Jewish opponents of war, went on suicide missions against Romans. Backfired: Jews expelled from Judea. --Shiite Assassins: attacks and suicide attacks on Sunni rulers of their territory in N.W. Iran, 11 th and 12 th C. --Japanese Kamikazes: only in the last 10 months of WWII, when Japanese territory was threatened --ST disappears from Revived by Hezbollah in Lebanon, 1980s, against US, French, and Israeli forces in Lebanon. It worked

56 Robert Pape, Dying to Win “Few suicide attackers are social misfits... most fit a nearly opposite profile… They see themselves as sacrificing their lives for the nation’s good.” “The bottom line, then, is that suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation…. Modern suicide terrorism is best understood as an extreme strategy for national liberation against democracies with troops that pose an imminent threat to control the territory the terrorists view as their homeland.” Suicide Terrorism is a form of altruistic suicide, like bees stinging a fist punched into the hive

57 B) Fascism

58 Making the nation a hive “Fascism:” Term coined by Mussolini, from “fasces”, Roman symbol of civic authority illustrating strength through unity

59 Mussolini, “The Doctrine of Fascism” “Fascism sees in the world not only those superficial, material aspects in which man appears as an individual, standing by himself, self-centered, subject to natural law, which instinctively urges him toward a life of selfish momentary pleasure; it sees not only the individual but the nation and the country; individuals and generations bound together by a moral law, with common traditions and a mission which suppressing the instinct for life closed in a brief circle of pleasure, builds up a higher life, founded on duty, a life free from the limitations of time and space, in which the individual, by self-sacrifice, the renunciation of self-interest, by death itself, can achieve that purely spiritual existence in which his value as a man consists.”

60 Morality re-defined: “Moral systems are interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, technologies, and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate selfishness and make social life possible” (Haidt, in press, Handbook of social psych)

61 1) Intuitive primacy (but not dictatorship) 2) Moral thinking is for social doing 3) Morality binds and builds 4) Morality is about more than harm and fairness The Intuitionist view

62 Racism as moral judgment Naive racism and anti-racism --The world is full of good people and bad people --Shared hatred of evil binds us together --Group X is evil --Group X = Jews, Blacks, Communists, Gays, Child-abductors, Drug-dealers/users, Muslims --For liberals, group X = racists, who are responsible for racism; our hatred of them binds us together

63 Prejudice as non-moral error A) Displaced aggression B) Authoritarian personality C) Cognitive errors/biases, illusory correlations D) Implicit associations, picked up from the media E) Ingroup-outgroup dynamics (Jane Elliot’s blue- eyes and brown-eyes) F) Stereotype accuracy?

64 Racist Jeopardy Round 1 A: These people are cheap, greedy, pushy, clannish, wealthy Q: Who are the Chinese (in Indonesia), the Indians (in East Africa), the Copts (in Egypt)? More generally: “Middlemen” or trading sub- cultures (including Jews in Europe)

65 A: These people are lazy, violent, superstitious, unintelligent, musical, and religious, and they speak colorfully Q: Who are the Irish? (in Boston, c.1840) More generally: Impoverished peasant sub-cultures (including rural Southern Blacks) Racist Jeopardy Round 2

66 How liberalism became a dirty word --Jews and Italians of Brooklyn flee old neighborhoods , threat of forced busing of Brownsville Blacks into Canarsie; Canarsians derided as racist for resisting --Rieder: Canarsians were racist, but that is not a full explanation -- “Black crime and family breakdown was real; the high life was so highly visible...”

67 Factors that increase MCC: --Group is fundamental source of value --Emphasize similarity, shared traditions --Authoritarian or Authoritative parenting --Moral imperative to punish --Religiosity --Emphasis on duties, not rights --Ethos of support for authority and local institutions

68 Factors that undermine MCC: --Individual is fundamental source of value --Celebrate diversity, tolerance --Permissive parenting --Reluctance to punish --Secularism --Emphasis on rights, not duties --Question authority & institutions --Hi mobility, hi immigration, low stability

69 Traditional Morality: Uses every tool in the toolbox to increase MCC

70 Ghetto culture violates all 5, for Canarsians

71 Racism is (in part) a moral judgment that liberalism condemns as the greatest possible sin -- “Law and order is not as simple as a code word for racism; it is a cry as things begin to break up, for stability, for stopping history in mid dissolution.” --”For Canarsians, [Liberalism] had become associated with profligacy, spinelessness, malevolence, masochism, elitism, fantasy, anarchy, idealism, softness, irresponsibility, and sanctimoniousness.”

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73 Racism and the Myth of Pure Evil 1) The racist is purely evil; has no intelligible motive, beyond an enjoyment of harming, or a lust for power. 2) The victim is purely good, and did nothing to bring about victimization. 3) The racist is an outsider, not part of our group. 4) Racism is the antithesis of order, peace, stability 5) Anyone who raises doubts about the purity of either side is in league with evil (e.g., justifying racism is treason)

74 The Moral Psych Alternative: Racism/Prejudice almost invariably involve moral judgments, mostly based on the Ingroup, Authority, and Purity foundations

75 Social Group Attitudes Jerry Falwell on homosexuals: “Any sex outside of the marriage bond between a man and a woman is violating God's law. Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions...I truly cannot imagine men with men, women with women, doing what they were not physically created to do, without abnormal stress and misbehavior...We will see a breakdown of the family and family values if we decide to approve same-sex marriage, and if we decide to establish homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.”

76 Social Group Attitudes Jerry Falwell on homosexuals: “Any sex outside of the marriage bond between a man and a woman is violating God's law. Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions...I truly cannot imagine men with men, women with women, doing what they were not physically created to do, without abnormal stress and misbehavior...We will see a breakdown of the family and family values if we decide to approve same-sex marriage, and if we decide to establish homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.” Ingroup

77 Social Group Attitudes Jerry Falwell on homosexuals: “Any sex outside of the marriage bond between a man and a woman is violating God's law. Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions...I truly cannot imagine men with men, women with women, doing what they were not physically created to do, without abnormal stress and misbehavior...We will see a breakdown of the family and family values if we decide to approve same-sex marriage, and if we decide to establish homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.” Authority

78 Social Group Attitudes Jerry Falwell on homosexuals: “Any sex outside of the marriage bond between a man and a woman is violating God's law. Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions...I truly cannot imagine men with men, women with women, doing what they were not physically created to do, without abnormal stress and misbehavior...We will see a breakdown of the family and family values if we decide to approve same-sex marriage, and if we decide to establish homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.” Purity

79 Social Group Attitudes White Supremacist Groups (National Vanguard, National Alliance)

80 Social Group Attitudes White Supremacist Groups (National Vanguard, National Alliance) “Our civilization is in obvious decline...Crime is becoming pervasive, and citizens in our major metropolitan areas have become inured to the multiple daily murders, assaults, robberies, and rapes, and regard them with little surprise...there is only one solution for this chaos. Eugenics, or racial hygiene, says that we can so arrange our society so as to reverse this degenerative process, so that the best elements of our population will have the most children...We need blood-based nations and natural racial communities, and an end to the racial mixing that amounts to genocide of the White race.” –Kevin Strom

81 Social Group Attitudes White Supremacist Groups (National Vanguard, National Alliance) “Our civilization is in obvious decline...Crime is becoming pervasive, and citizens in our major metropolitan areas have become inured to the multiple daily murders, assaults, robberies, and rapes, and regard them with little surprise. There is only one solution for this chaos. Eugenics, or racial hygiene, says that we can so arrange our society so as to reverse this degenerative process, so that the best elements of our population will have the most children...We need blood-based nations and natural racial communities, and an end to the racial mixing that amounts to genocide of the White race.” –Kevin Strom Ingroup

82 Social Group Attitudes White Supremacist Groups (National Vanguard, National Alliance) “Our civilization is in obvious decline...Crime is becoming pervasive, and citizens in our major metropolitan areas have become inured to the multiple daily murders, assaults, robberies, and rapes, and regard them with little surprise. There is only one solution for this chaos. Eugenics, or racial hygiene, says that we can so arrange our society so as to reverse this degenerative process, so that the best elements of our population will have the most children...We need blood-based nations and natural racial communities, and an end to the racial mixing that amounts to genocide of the White race.” –Kevin Strom Authority

83 Social Group Attitudes White Supremacist Groups (National Vanguard, National Alliance) “Our civilization is in obvious decline...Crime is becoming pervasive, and citizens in our major metropolitan areas have become inured to the multiple daily murders, assaults, robberies, and rapes, and regard them with little surprise. There is only one solution for this chaos. Eugenics, or racial hygiene, says that we can so arrange our society so as to reverse this degenerative process, so that the best elements of our population will have the most children...We need blood-based nations and natural racial communities, and an end to the racial mixing that amounts to genocide of the White race.” –Kevin Strom Purity

84 1) Intuitive primacy (but not dictatorship) 2) Moral thinking is for social doing 3) Morality binds and builds 4) Morality is about more than harm and fairness The Intuitionist view

85 “One of this book’s aims is to replace the thin, mechanical psychology of the enlightenment with something more complex, something closer to reality. A consequence of this is to produce a darker account. But another aim of the book is to defend the enlightenment hope of a world that is more peaceful and more humane, the hope that by understanding more about ourselves we can do something to create a world with less misery. --Glover, p. 7 Conclusions/implications

86 Three Models of Human Nature CynicRationalistIntuitionist We are selfish We strive for truth and justice (imperfectly) We have a lot of evolved automatic stuff that makes us contingently selfish and cooperative Machiavelli Freud, Dawkins Plato, Mill, Kant, Kohlberg, Turiel Hume, Darwin, E.O. Wilson, De Waal Expects too little Expects too much Expects complexity, extremity, inconsistency

87 The Perfect Way is only difficult for those who pick and choose; Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear. Make a hairbreadth difference, and Heaven and Earth are set apart; If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against“ is the mind's worst disease. --Sent-ts’an, c. 700 C.E.


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