If you think that moral reasoning is something we do to figure out the truth, youâ€™ll be constantly frustrated by how foolish, biased, and illogical people become when they disagree with you. But if you think about moral reasoning as a skill we humans evolved to further our social agendasâ€”to justify our own actions and to defend the teams we belong toâ€”then things will make a lot more sense. We do moral reasoning not to reconstruct the actual reasons why we ourselves came to a judgment; we reason to find the best possible reasons why somebody else ought to join us in our judgment. Keep your eye on the intuitions, and donâ€™t take peopleâ€™s moral arguments at face value. Theyâ€™re mostly post hoc constructions made up on the fly, crafted to advance one or more strategic objectives. The main way that we change our minds on moral issues is by interacting with other people. We are terrible at seeking evidence that challenges our own beliefs, but other people do us this favor, just as we are quite good at finding errors in other peopleâ€™s beliefs. When discussions are hostile, the odds of change are slight. The elephant leans away from the opponent, and the rider works frantically to rebut the opponentâ€™s charges.You can see Jonathan Haidt’s full website for the book by clicking here.
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