Tuesday, April 7, 2009

David Brooks on Philosophy and Morality

I have mixed reactions to Brooks' column, but today's strikes home. It argues that we make moral decisions largely according to our emotions, to which we later attach our reasoning processes. Social psychologists and others have been saying this for a long time, and I'm curious about the implications. Just thought I'd note the column here.


Anonymous said...

Gareth Morgan's (Univ. of Lancaster UK) research, Images of Organization, came to mind for me as I read Brooks' column. When I studied public administration several years ago, I realized that institutional culture as well as individuals can exhibit emotive responses. That eventually reassured me. I'm rather a recent convert from public policy rationalism to "the church." I decided it may be more expeditious and morally sound to begin with the human heart and try to inform it than attempting to move the brain to an essential, compassionate rightness. Craig

Greg Carey said...

Good stuff, Craig. Thanks!

Marcy H. N. said...

I just finished reading a book called "How We Decide" by some young, very smart guy, Jonah Lehrer. He interviewed neuropsychologists and neuroscientists about what actually happens in the brain when certain decisions are made. And he also demythologizes that ancient divide between reason and emotion, that in fact we need emotion--not in the way we normally think about emotion--to make some rational decisions.

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