Category Archives: moral network mapping

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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social criticism as reading social forms

Patterns and forms are very common in the social world. In Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network, my sister Caroline Levine focuses on the four forms named in her title. She acknowledges that her list may not be exhaustive, and one … Continue reading

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a method of mapping moral commitments as networks

I have been developing a method for representing moral beliefs as networks of ideas. Various friends have also been contributing to the development of this approach. So far, we have asked individuals to name their own beliefs, given them back their lists, asked them to … Continue reading

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“the self is moral”

Summarizing a body of empirical research, the Duke psychologist Nina Strohminger argues that what constitutes our identity is our moral character, not (for instance) the memories that we have stored so far. Asked what characteristics a soul would hypothetically carry into another … Continue reading

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outline of a philosophy

At any given moment, an individual holds a very large number of beliefs relevant to moral evaluation and judgment. Some of these beliefs are connected to other ones, producing a network. Not all the connections are strict logical entailments; some … Continue reading

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is a network a good representation of a person’s moral worldview?

Here is a method that I and some colleagues have been using to model the moral worldview of individuals and of groups. First, pose questions about individuals’ principles, beliefs, and methods and ask them to respond with ideas that they endorse. Then show them their … Continue reading

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watching a community form

The 2014 Summer Institute of Civic Studies consists of 24 people who differ by discipline and profession, age, gender, race/ethnicity, ideology/religion, and nationality. (India, Iran, Ukraine, German-speaking Northern Italy, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Francophone Canada, Mexico, and the US are represented.) … Continue reading

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how do we perceive an identity?

(Providence, RI) What makes us think that certain features of objects are integral or essential while others are optional? For instance, a banana could be straight and still a banana, but a wheel must be round to be a wheel. … Continue reading

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are religions comprehensive doctrines?

John Rawls saw a “plurality of reasonable but incompatible comprehensive doctrines” as a “fact” about the world, or at least about the modern world. He explained: “a reasonable doctrine is an exercise of theoretical reason: it covers the major religious, … Continue reading

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a different take on coherence in ethics

There have traditionally been two families of answers to the question: How can a moral belief be justified? Foundationalists think that beliefs are justified if they follow from beliefs that are somehow “foundational.” As Geoffrey Sayre-McCord writes, “traditionally, foundational beliefs have … Continue reading

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