Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CT: "Utilitarian Psychopaths"
Here’s an interesting (or at least provocative) new piece of psychological research (link may need academic subscription) with findings concerning the moral framework generally favoured by economists:
In this paper, we question the close identification of utilitarian responses with optimal moral judgment by demonstrating that the endorsement of utilitarian solutions to a set of commonly-used moral dilemmas correlates with a set of psychological traits that can be characterized as emotionally callous and manipulative—traits that most would perceive as not only psychologically unhealthy, but also morally undesirable.
“The mismeasure of morals: Antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas”, by Daniel M. Bartels and David A. Pizarro, Cognition 121 (2011) 154–161.
[available here]

And they debate this.

See George Soros and The Trolley Problem

Common sense morality is morality among equals; utilitarianism defaults to the morality of leaders. In the military, decision makers cannot "fraternize" with their inferiors: pretend to be their equals.

Utilitarianism in a community of equals is a functional threat to the community and is considered immoral within the community. The result is class loyalty and the politics of leaders and lead, rulers and ruled.

So fucking obvious. It's just sad.

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