Moral Psychology on Blogging Heads

You can see Josh Knobe, of Experimental Philosophy fame, and Paul Bloom, who doesn't have a blog but has one of them professorship things up at some podunk little school in New Haven, CT, talking about research in moral psychology here.

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post that was pretty critical of the current state of Experimental Philosophy. In the post, I focused on the work of Joshua Knobe, not because his work is the worst Experimental Philosophy has to offer, but because it is, in my mind, the best by far. Yesterday on the…
Our emotions are strongly tied to our morals. We're more likely to think something is wrong if it repulses us, even if we can't describe exactly why or how it is wrong. For example, most people would disapprove of consensual adult incest between siblings, but few would be able to articulate…
If William James were alive today, I'm pretty sure that he'd be an experimental philosopher. (He'd also be a cognitive psychologist, a public intellectual in the mold of Richard Rorty and a damn fine essayist, filling the back pages of the New Yorker and New York Review of Books with incisive…
As an outsider, I'm glad to hear all the new developments coming from those who study human behavior. It would seem from my ignorant, non-expert, outside-of-the-field perspective that there is a revolution going on. Many have abandoned the platonic view of thought, the juvenile Freudian view of…

knobe does better as the alpha me thinks. i wonder what bloom thinks of the work of the functionalists in the 'explaining religion' project....

It's interesting that they talk about the mind leaving the body, but when it does it still seems to have many of the same properties that a body does: it's located in time and space and in the case of a ghost it may have some of the physical features of the body such as a face with eyes, ears, nose, and a mouth. They also mention that God is usually associated with some physical form. A plausible explanation might be that the most basic innate concepts we have about minds and bodies make the distinction between animate and inanimate objects and the distinction between matter and consciousness is not an innate concept but something that arises from a much more advanced inferential process. I don't think they explicitly state that, but it's what they seem to be implying. Stories of Greek and Roman gods seem to sort of go back and forth between thinking of the gods as being similiar to super heroes and having bodies and them being like gods that are similiar to the God of contemporary religion. Greek gods were apparently thought of as immortal not because they were immaterial, but rather because of some God-like property that they had.