Thursday, April 25, 2013

Is Morality Instinctive?

What if all healthy human beings are born with an innate sense  of fairness?
Why does it seem like such a rare quality?
If empathy and reciprocity are the pillars of morality, what are they teaching with the narcissistic, win-any-way-you-can philosophy of "olympic" fencing?



  1. I think we do have an innate sense of fairness. The problem is that it too often manifests as wanting things to change because someone else has something you don't instead of because you have something someone else does not.

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  3. Thanks for your comment!

    I don't think what you're describing has anything to do with fairness.

    Note that in the experiment it wasn't just that one subject had something the other didn't have. It was that the subjects were UNEQUALLY REWARDED FOR PERFORMING THE SAME TASK.

    In the waybackwhen, before we had to distinguish "classical" fencing from the uglisome thing that the "sport" of fencing has become, it was the standard practice (and it is still OUR standard practice) to acknowledge all hits received -- and NEVER to claim one that was not acknowledged. Fencers were famous for eschewing any dubious call made in their favor, or any unfair advantage. On the flip side, "losers" were notoriously gracious toward their adversaries. A smile, a handshake and a "Well done" was the rule, rather than the exception.

    When I was a kid, I knew of people who lost HUGE amounts of money playing poker, who always paid up. But let one of those guys find out he lost two dollars on a hand because you CHEATED, and the cops would find your body in the trunk of your car.

    I think it isn't that someone else HAS something you don't have that's irksome, but rather, how they GOT it.

    Thanks again for your comment!




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