What Is Morality?

For a topic as subjective as morality, people sure have strong beliefs about what's right and wrong. Yet even though morals can vary from person to person and culture to culture, many are universal, as they result from basic human emotions. We may think of moralizing as an intellectual exercise, but more frequently it's an attempt to make sense of our gut instincts.

Recent posts on Ethics and Morality

Labor is Love

There are hidden blessings for at-home caretakers of Alzheimer's sufferers

On Being Presidential - 6 Qualities and 4 Traits

By Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A. on August 28, 2016 in Just Listen
Do you agree with these 6 qualities and 4 traits as descriptive of being Presidential? If so, please add in the comments your assessment of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Past Forgiveness: Part II

What does it take to forgive someone?

Homeless, Mentally Ill and Neglected

When the symptoms of mental illness are acute, they affect an individual’s decision-making capacity. Our failure to provide treatment to those in need is discrimination..

Murder of Mississippi Nuns Echoes Homicide from Long Ago

A suspect has been arrested - but did he know right from wrong?

The Sexual Lie Detector

By David J Ley Ph.D. on August 26, 2016 in Women Who Stray
The polygraph is widely discredited as a valid tool for detecting deception. So why are therapists and clinicians calling it a way to "keep sex addicts honest"?

On Evil

By Anthony Synnott Ph.D. on August 26, 2016 in Rethinking Men
What is evil? Is there such a thing or force as evil? Or just bad deeds? Are there evil people? Or is everything relative?

Farm Animal Suffering Leaves a Bad Taste In Your Mouth

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 24, 2016 in Animals and Us
In a series of recent experiments, researchers found that whether we think animals were raised humanely or on a factory farm affects the way their meat tastes.

Weird Beliefs

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on August 24, 2016 in Excellent Beauty
You have some weird beliefs, beliefs that do not fit well with all your other everyday beliefs. To you, though, these beliefs are not weird at all. What explains this?

Self-Absorption: The Root of All (Psychological) Evil?

If you’ve ever been called self-absorbed, you can be sure you weren’t getting a compliment. So why is it so easy to fall into the pit of obsessive rumination?

Is Committing Rape Just Making a Mistake?

Why are young male athletes getting away with sexually assaulting girls? Entitlement is part of the answer.

A Pastor Walks Into a Room Full of Atheists

What do you think would happen when a United Methodist pastor walks into a room full of atheists? The answer might surprise you!

Should We Want a President Who Can’t or Won’t Lie?

By Paul Ekman Ph.D. on August 23, 2016 in Face It!
When it comes to lies, they are not all created equal. At what point do we accept that some lies are beneficial, especially when it comes to our leaders?

Caregiving

By Roberta Satow Ph.D. on August 23, 2016 in Life After 50
Is taking care of an elderly parent making you feel guilty no matter how much you do?

Unattended Children, Harm, and the Nature of Moral Judgment

New research explains why people are quick to condemn those who leave their children unattended.

Is Neuroscience Today's Phrenology?

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on August 22, 2016 in Am I Right?
To reject the findings of science is to choose stupidity; to reject the liberal arts is to choose an immature heart.
Geralt, via pixabay

Our Anger Crisis: Anger Elevates Us By Pulling Others Down?

By Michael Cholbi Ph.D. on August 22, 2016 in Ethics in Question
Injustice tells the world that wrongdoers and their victims are not moral equals. Can anger and retribution symbolically restore their equality?

Leadership Lessons From The Godfather

What can a movie about mafia bosses and gangsters teach us about leadership?

Siena’s Sublimation of Neighborhood Rivalries

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on August 22, 2016 in The Me in We
The palio horserace shows the social significance of sacrifice and the sublimation of group rivalries.

Should Academic Achievement Be the Primary Goal of Education

We spend huge amounts of money determining whether schools are teaching academic material successfully. But is that the most important task for schools? Maybe not.

What Do You Hear? Clinton, Trump, and Their Predecessors

By Gregg R. Murray Ph.D. on August 21, 2016 in Caveman Politics
What do you hear Hillz and the Donald saying? Do the data say the same thing?

The Lessons of Homelessness

Are you tired of the same old rhetoric about homelessness? Here is a different way to view the problem of homelessness.

Dangerous Thoughts

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 21, 2016 in How To Do Life
Things that are hard to say, even to our diary.

When You've Been Bad, Is it Enough to Say You're Sorry?

Regret may seem like a watered down version of an apology but, according to new research, honest feelings of regret will have more lasting effects on behavior.

Blame It on Rio Part 2

Ryan Lochte’s false reporting about a minor incident in Rio has put a blemish on the otherwise awesome 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Should he be forgiven?

What Kinds Of People Believe Animals Go To Heaven?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 19, 2016 in Animals and Us
Two recent studies have found many people agree that animals from dogs to snakes and insects experience life after death.

Psychology of Scientific Integrity: Graduate Syllabus

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on August 18, 2016 in Rabble Rouser
Scientific fields from biomedicine to psychology are a mess. How bad? No one really knows. Maybe it is not that bad. Maybe it is awful.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/4984060658

Who Blames the Victim?

By Laura Niemi, Ph.D. on August 18, 2016 in Morality in Language
Moral values constitute a core framework that organizes psychological processes to motivate predictable patterns of condemnation toward victims. Still, language matters!

Add a Dose of Skepticism to Whatever You Believe

A finely honed doubt is as beautiful as a deeply held belief.
https://pixabay.com/en/brain-think-human-idea-20424/

Alluring Brain Science: Stale, Creative Ferment or Both?

Brain science is complex and fast developing. Is it providing the answers we need quickly enough?