Category Archives: moral network mapping

structured moral pluralism (a proposal)

(New York) Isaiah Berlin recalled that the Russian novelists he read as boy shared with “the major figures [of philosophy], especially in the field of ethical and political thought,” a common “Platonic ideal.” This ideal implied, In the first place that, as in … Continue reading

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an alternative to Moral Foundations Theory

Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory is one of the most influential current approaches to moral psychology and it exemplifies certain assumptions that are pervasive in psychology more generally. I have been working lately with 18 friends and colleagues to “map” … Continue reading

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10 theses about ethics, in network terms

People hold many morally relevant opinions, some concrete and particular, some abstract and general, some tentative and others categorical. People see connections–usually logical or empirical relationships–between some pairs of their own opinions and can link all of their opinions into one network. (Note: … Continue reading

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the advantages and drawbacks of precision in ethics

I like to ask people to state their own beliefs that are relevant to ethics and then draw connections among those ideas to create networks that represent their moral worldviews. I put people (students and others) in dialogue with each … Continue reading

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Selim Berker on moral coherence

In “Coherentism via Graphs,”[i] Selim Berker begins to work out a theory of the coherence of a person’s beliefs in terms of its network properties. Consider these two diagrams (A and B) borrowed from his article, both of which depict … Continue reading

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network dynamics in conversation

(Dayton, OH) It is in conversations–face-to-face or virtual, oral or written, small or massive, formal or informal–that we form our views of public issues, hold ourselves accountable for our reasons and actions, check our assumptions, expand our horizons, gain the … Continue reading

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on philosophy as a way of life

(San Antonio, TX) Here I briefly introduce schools of thought–Indian and European–that have combined introspective mental exercises with reasoning about moral principles and critical analysis of social systems. I contrast their integrated approach to forms of philosophy that construct comprehensive … Continue reading

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assessing a discussion

We discuss in order to address public problems together. We also develop morally through discussion–which, by the way, I would define very broadly to encompass a conversation with your neighbor over the backyard fence, with Leopold Bloom in the pages … Continue reading

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it’s not just what you think, but how your thoughts are organized

We come into the world with no moral ideas at all and must learn them from others. We learn not just from arguments and explicit principles, but also by observing practices and experiencing emotional reactions.1 We must make judgments about … Continue reading

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how judgment is structured

Everything is judged As you walk through the supermarket, your senses absorb data from tens of thousands of objects. Each presents a binary choice: buy or don’t buy. That is a value judgment, even if the only value consideration is … Continue reading

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