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Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Morality Hallucination

By Robert Kurzban
Center for Humans and Nature
Originally published in August 2014

Here is an excerpt:

Moral principles are unlike physical principles. Moral principles are more like songs. Songs don’t exist for people to find. No one could conduct a research project and discover “Let it Be.”  Songs are produced by human minds. The relationship between human minds and morality is one of creation: human minds create morality.

This position is not uncontroversial, and some people think that moral rules are more like the laws of motion than they are like songs. There are a number of reasons to take the morality-as-songs view, but I’ll just mention two. First, moral rules are very, very diverse. There is very little debate about whether or not force equal mass times acceleration. In contrast, debates rage about what’s right and what’s wrong. In some places, for instance, homosexuality is still considered to be wrong. In other places, the moral condemnation of homosexuality is itself considered a moral failing.

The entire article is here.