Posted: Sep 29, 2017 10:38 pm
by Cito di Pense
The puzzling fact is that moral prescriptions like the one you cite (suffering of innocent people) are either not actually effective (which is why people keep issuing them, presumably) or else are being issued superfluously.

The realistic picture (the one saturated with evolutionary sauciness) is that very few people disagree with the prescription, in principle at least, so it represents some kind of fact, the way such tautologies go. An additional point is that, if it has been effective, then it only gets issued because it feels good to issue such statements.

I'd hate to think that issuing moral prescriptions is just some sort of endorphin-charged entertainment, wouldn't you? Perhaps if you got out more, you'd either confirm that the world is a nasty place in spite of your assumptions about evolutionary saturation, or else it's jim-dandy, and you can stop worrying about our ignorance of brain mechanism. Or maybe it's neither, and that's why it gets issued, but that either puts a bit of a damper on evolutionary saturation or concludes that the saturation is made of endorphins.

Or maybe your suggestion is that the hearing the constant din of moral prescriptions issued is what gives people the predisposition to agree with them. I don't know what you call that; if that's not your suggestion, what is? This is the problem with beliefs; you only hear people say what they believe, and they could be lying.

My sense of things is that the ethics branch of ev psych and neuroscience is talking the kind of bollocks that makes for an endorphin-charged entertainment of pretending to understand a problem that is purported to be important to us. When I want to be entertained in that way, I watch a Bruce Willis "Die Hard" episode.