Thursday, November 07, 2013

reinventing the wheel, discovering the obvious.

Nadelhoffer links to Nagel on Joshua Greene's new book, Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them.

Blurb
Our brains were designed for tribal life, for getting along with a select group of others (Us) and for fighting off everyone else (Them). But modern times have forced the world’s tribes into a shared space, resulting in epic clashes of values along with unprecedented opportunities.
The title of the review is "You Can't Learn About Morality from Brain Scans". An update on Nadelhoffer's post wonders if the title smacks of editorial interference by Wieseltier. [repeats]

A discussion of the trolley problem. The difference between pushing a fat man off the bridge and pulling a switch to redirect the train that kills him is described as "mysterious; it seems to call for, but also to defy, explanation." It's neither. [repeats]
Stanley Milgram’s 1963 experiments showed that proximity, of authority to subject and of subject to “learner”, was the main factor in affecting the level of obedience to the command to cause harm. An anthropologist will know why a guillotine is not like an ax and why a governor is not called an executioner even if the man who bears that title is only following orders.
Most people who eat meat would not want to be butchers. Call it the distribution of the sensible.

"And is, then, all which is just pious? or, is that which is pious all just, but that which is just, only in part and not all, pious" [repeats]

Euripides, Shakespeare or James Agee.
ALLNUT: Feller takes a drop too much once in a while. T's only yoomin nyture.
ROSE (remotely): Nature, Mr. Allnutt, is what we are put into this world to rise above.
Nagel
Greene wants to persuade us that moral psychology is more fundamental than moral philosophy. [No Fucking Shit] Most moral philosophies, he maintains, are misguided attempts to interpret our moral intuitions in particular cases as apprehensions of the truth about how we ought to live and what we ought to do, with the aim of discovering the underlying principles that determine that truth.
The history of the arts and of humanistic scholarship is the history of conversations and debates about the relation of loyalty to justice. Wieseltier is a lousy defender of his cause because he can barely remember what the others here were never even taught.

Cops bust down the door of a house. They don't have a warrant or probable cause. They find evidence that shows the owner is a murderer. Under our system the evidence is inadmissible in court. Why?

Literary critics have Montesquieu in their bones and legal philosophers have him only in their mouths.
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update here 

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