The Moral Instinct

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AJ Jimenez
RWS 100
Prof. Traylor
November 8, 2012
“The Moral Instinct”
A journalist of The New York Times Magazine by the name of Steven Pinker published an article titled, “The Moral Instinct.” The purpose of the article was to discuss morality and the questions and speculations around it. In the article, Pinker suggests that our moral goodness is just in our minds and is there to help us decide between what is right and wrong. He says that our moral goodness isn’t just an opinion-based conclusion, whether we favor or disfavor something. To Pinker, morality makes us feel like we have a purpose to live, and that that purpose solely comes from our loved ones. Pinker goes on to talk more about morality and poses many claims; claims that I have found very interesting. In further study of this article, particularly the claims Pinker brought up, I found some interesting texts that extend and complicate Pinker’s arguments as well as stimulate my thoughts about morality. “The stirrings of morality emerge early in childhood” (Pinker 27). According to Pinker, our morality develops as we grow up; as we mature, our morality matures. He claims that morality is something that we have already when we are born and that morality is made up from many things such as the genes we obtain from our parents or the environment that we live in, which reflects the morality we have and the moral judgment that we possess. I for one agree with this statement; I personally believe that through experience and just normal day living, our morality forms and molds into what it is today. Like how the saying goes, “We learn from our mistakes.” That saying defines what Pinker is suggesting about the correlation between morality and our surroundings. Pinker also talks about five spheres that tie into our moral sense. Those five spheres are harm, fairness, community, authority, and purity. He says that these spheres are suppose to be universal but says that in some cultures, these spheres each...
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