Pinker Sample Draft

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Cognition Pages: 4 (1577 words) Published: April 11, 2013
Sample Pinker Draft #2

Steven Pinker, experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, and Harvard Professor discusses morality in his New York Times article, “The Moral Instinct,” emphasizing the idea of morality as a science. His main argument insists that with further analysis of the science of the moral sense, we will be able to better understand our incentives in making moral judgments. Pinker applies a series of examples, hypothetical situations, surveys, and experiments in order to prove that morality, just like science, can be investigated, and that the knowledge gained from moral science can help us in the future. One major claim in his article suggests that we possess an innate moral instinct, which overpowers our reason when we make a moral judgment. David Pizarro and Paul Bloom challenge this idea in “The Intelligence of the Moral Intuition,” which argues that reasoning serves a major role in morality. Pinker’s second claim asserts that the morality we’re born with is developed overtime through rationalization and factors in society, an argument which Paul Bloom expands upon in his article “The Moral Life of Babies.” This paper will compare and contrast Pinker’s first claim with the challenging view of Pizarro and Bloom, and demonstrate how Pinker’s second claim is expanded by Blooms research with babies. In his article, Pinker addresses the possibility that people are born with certain moral predispositions that affect their moral intuitions and tendencies. In accordance with Jonathan Haidt, Pinker argues that people first experience an unconscious emotion that they then attempt to explain through rationalization. He supports this claim with examples of moral dilemmas which people instantly reject without substantial reasons for doing so. The moral dilemmas that Pinker cites include a brother and sister have consensual sex, a woman cutting up an American flag, and a family dog being accidently hit by a car and purposefully eaten. Upon being told of...
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