Overextrapolating the Boundaries

I posted this elsewhere in response to what I took to be a defense of conservative values as related to Jonathan Haidt's article, Moral Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion, which I critiqued elsewhere.

Haidt's is a “descriptive approach based on anthropological and psychological data” that is pertinent to a description of the various systems employed across the society. The danger of extrapolating from such inclusivity is that the definition of what one is studying becomes subject to dictation by study subjects rather than following a recognized definition. Remember that the best way for an academic to be noticed is for him or her to produce a new idea, even if the newness is merely achieved by expanding definitions to include parameters better included in separate definitions.

Haidt himself states the harm and justice parameters are the classically accepted parameters for defining morality within most studies of moral philosophy. Haidt is actually describing the sort of emotional disgust reaction that PZ Myers addressed in Who's morally pernicious?, and which Haidt himself describes as generating reactions that the emoter cannot justify within a post hoc moral explanation.

Haidt is actually describing the emotional reactions that are emphasized by individuals within his study groups. Haidt himself emphasizes that loyalty/in-group/purity are primarily conservative values.

I am not saying that liberals do not place any value on these things. However, I am saying that emphasizing these values does not necessarily guarantee moral behavior (by the classical definition). Some in-group authority figures who emphasize purity have not emphasized and are not emphasizing moral behavior. No need to mention the obvious examples of misuse of authority to promote personal ambitions by appealing to human emotions.

Liberal thinkers tend to look at the value of what is being promoted rather than paying excessive heed to who is promoting it. Such excessive reverence for in-group hype has been repeatedly demonstrated to be dangerous or potentially dangerous down through history.

More: Haidt Hype . From the Sublime to the Ridiculous .
Elsewhere : PZ Myers Hmmm...I found the moral philosophy of chimps more convincing :


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