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

Killing Harambe: Who Was Protecting Whom?

By Joe Pierre M.D. on May 31, 2016 in Psych Unseen
Moral outrage is swift, retributive, and often based on limited information and context.

Be a Hero

We’d all like to think that when we see something bad happening—a person injured in an accident or someone being assaulted— we would step forward to render aid.

Modern Understandings of 2000 Year-Old Words of Wisdom

Wisdom from the ancients is as applicable today as it was thousands of years ago.

Thinking About Good Soldiers Who Died for Bad Causes

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 30, 2016 in Ambigamy
Good soldiers have died for horrible causes. It is our moral duty today to reflect on how that ends up happening.

Religious Freedom Shouldn't Trump Other Civil Rights

By Allen J Frances M.D. on May 28, 2016 in Saving Normal
Religious freedom is an important right, but isn't absolute when it violates the rights and dignity of others or the legitimate interests of public policy.

Why a Wealthy Person Shoplifts

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on May 28, 2016 in How To Do Life
My exchange with a client who admits she shoplifts.
by Chloe Barron

When Someone You Know Might Be Molesting a Child

Stories of clients who witnessed molestation as children, the impact of molestation and the mind of the molester are discussed with six suggestions for coping and recovering

Adaptation of Ancient Oath in Search of Modern Relevence

The hippocratic principals of antiquity are to a great extent applicable in today's society. We examine the adaptations that have occurred and are currently being scrutinized

Exercising our Freedom and Intelligence: Part 7

By Michael Hogan Ph.D. on May 26, 2016 in In One Lifespan
In the Roman Republic, freedom had a unique meaning.

Creating Super-People

A future Utopia of Supermen and Superwomen as envisioned by early 20th century supporters of eugenics: What would it look like? Could making a better world be so simple?

Lessons From Teaching About Our Latest Scandal in Psychology

Like other momentous events in psychology, the torture scandal left a permanent mark on our field. There are profound consequences, and the dominoes haven't stopped falling.

The Blurry Boundaries of Eugenic Infanticide

In the early 20th century, a well-respected physician refused to save the lives of babies born with disabilities, demonstrating the dangers of placing valuations on human lives.

Parental Alienation and the Bystander Effect

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."


By Bernard L. De Koven on May 25, 2016 in On Having Fun
Would you save someone's life if it meant risking your own? And all of those who are with you?

The Journey of Life

Just what is implied nowadays when we say that someone has led a ‘successful life’?

The Usefulness of Philosophy

Fundamentally, the study of philosophy, whether in a classroom or not, should lead to wisdom for everyday life. And that is a goal we should all value, for its own sake.

The Psychology Behind How Young People Vote

Young people will have more power to influence U.S. elections and policy than at any other time in recent history. How do they vote differently from older adults?

Are Corporations Inherently Psychopathic?

It has been said that corporations have "neither bodies to kick nor souls to damn." Can we diagnose psychopathy in non-human entities?

Spreading the Word

By APA Division 15 on May 23, 2016 in PsychEd
It's safe to say that, generally, scientists are reluctant to share their research outside of the world of academia. We need to change this, if we want to have a real impact.

Education Research and the Media

By APA Division 15 on May 23, 2016 in PsychEd
Today, it's more urgent than ever that education researchers inform the voting populace about what it truly means to educate an increasingly diverse and complex student body.

Evolutionary Psychology Goes Just Fine with Religion

There is no need for religion and evolutionary psychology to be in conflict. Here's why.

Living Virtuously-- With the Land

I’ve come to realize what we all know in our heart of hearts--- that we really don’t live virtuously unless we attend well to our relationships with the other-than-humans.

The Hypochondriac

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on May 21, 2016 in How To Do Life
Exploring issues of marriage, loyalty, and end-of-life.

September 11th, Evolution, and the Face of Hell

September 11, 2001 showed us the darkest side of our nature. The evolutionary perspective can help us understand why.

PC: That Powerful Term That No One Bothers To Define

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 20, 2016 in Ambigamy
Accusing someone of being PC has become just another way of saying, "The problem is you, not me. I'm not insensitive; you're hypersensitive." Here's a better definition.

The Evolutionary Psychology of Humility

Stewardship is broadly valued in others - just as selfishness is broadly repulsed. Here’s why.

Calling the Holocaust "Bullying" Is Offensive

By Izzy Kalman on May 18, 2016 in Resilience to Bullying
Experts who call the Holocaust "bullying" are wrong. They are trivializing genocide and catastrophizing bullying. Genocide is actually victim behavior.

The Skullduggery of Politicians

Frequent stories about politicians who engage in illicit acts serve to reinforce our mistrust and cynicism, but whether they are more so inclined than anyone else is debatable.

First, Do No Harm – Legalizing Discrimination in Healthcare

By David J Ley Ph.D. on May 17, 2016 in Women Who Stray
When therapists are allowed to refer patients away based on religious beliefs, it causes harm. Healers are not supposed to harm their patients.

Does Someone Like You? You May Soon Be Able to Know for Sure

By Jen Kim on May 16, 2016 in Valley Girl With a Brain
Does your date find you attractive? A new device will tell you.