Showing posts from October, 2023

Israel, Palestine and Moral Confusion

People in the West are struggling to decide who the “bad guys” are in the Israel-Hamas war . This lack of moral clarity exposes the ad hoc nature of morality. People make moral judgments by pattern-matching. They have (subconsciously) learned a bunch of moral patterns from experience. To make a moral judgment about an event, they (subconsciously) try to fit the event to some moral pattern. In many cases, the event clearly fits a single moral pattern, and this produces a clear moral judgment. In other cases, however, the event matches multiple patterns that have different polarity. This produces moral conflict. Where do moral intuitions come from? Social cues, especially labeling. If a child is told “X is bad” on a regular basis, then the child will learn to view X as bad. Moral intuitions are knowledge about the moral judgments of others. Is this circular? Yes. So are other types of cultural knowledge, such as language. We learn language from speech, and then we use it