In her research, Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. found that people lie in one in five of their daily interactions. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, claims in her TED Talk that we’re lied to from 10-200 times a day. It’s important to consider: how honest is the world we’ve created around ourselves? How often do we ourselves tell lies? And, on the flip side, do we intimidate others in ways that might encourage them to shade the truth?
"From a certain perspective, current liberal Western civilization seems to be a moral pinnacle. We have rejected slavery. We have substantially de-legitimized aggressive warfare. We have made huge progress in advancing the welfare of children. We have made huge progress toward gender and racial equality. In his 2011 book The Better Angels of Our Nature, Steven Pinker says he is prepared to call our recent ancestors "morally retarded" (p. 658). Imagine how we would react if a Westerner today were seriously to endorse a set of views that would not have been radical in 1800: denying women the vote (or maybe even advocating a return to monarchy), viewing slavery and twelve-hour days of child labor in coal mines as legitimate business enterprises, advocating military conquest for the sake of glory, etc. "Morally retarded" might seem a fair assessment!"
"It’s been long thought that psychopaths suffer from a mental disorder, but a new Queen’s University-led study casts doubt on this idea."
As children, parents and guardians are entrusted with responsibility until we are of age. If an adult-aged individual were not responsible for his or her actions, who would be? Can harmful or destructive behavior be addressed without valid accountability?
"While exchanging favors with others, humans tend to think in terms of tit-for-tat, an assumption easily extended to other animals. As a result, reciprocity is often viewed as a cognitive feat requiring memory, perhaps even calculation."
"The number of Americans who cannot vote because they have been convicted of a felony continues to grow. The Sentencing Project reported Thursday that in 2010 5.5 million voting-age citizens were disenfranchised because of their criminal records, up by 9 percent from 2004. About a quarter are in prison, but the rest have completed their sentences or are on probation or parole."
How can felons change, demonstrate change, and be accepted by society as citizens and not felons after incarceration?
On listening to the CBC broadcast of Arno Michael's poignant story, Life after Hate, you hear of a personal transformation from harbinger of violence to champion of dignity. But beyond the skepticism of a human's capacity to change, beyond recognition of the call he has answered with action, you hear admonitions for failing to turn himself in for his admissions.
I can understand the cry for blood, of an-eye-for-an-eye but in light of his words coupled with his actions we must queston ourselves. What purpose does punishment and incarceration serve? Is it protection of the public? Is it to reform a harmful individual? Is it to appease someone's outrage?
"How would you feel if that happened to you?” If bystanders can truly understand what it's like to be a victim of bullying, they are more likely to intervene, offer support, or seek help.
This question opens the door to teaching children about empathy. Empathy is recognizing, understanding and caring about how someone feels, or being able to “put yourself in someone’s shoes. “Treat others the way you want to be treated” is the modified golden rule that conveys empathy.
Empathy is a key ingredient in families, friendships and other relationships. How can empathy reduce teasing and bullying? How can empathy weaken the power of bullies?"
11 July 2012 - "A robotics team from the University of Pisa in Italy has a challenge for the Uncanny Valley theory made famous by the 1970 essay of that name. Masahiro Mori had said when robots get too realistic they turn people off with a feeling of eerie distaste. The team from Pisa are intent on showing that robots with human expressions can be, well, liked. They would like to generate a new chapter of human like robots that do not churn up a sense of unease. They are focused on research that can demonstrate how manipulated expressions on robots can be made more attractive so that the human can cross over Mori’s dips of feelings of unease and creepiness."
Social contracts are written into our biology. As is the justice they need. The arc of our evolution has long bent towards the justice of “laws” fittest for team survival. We bred ourselves, by artificial selection, to internalize and feel strongly about social rules.
You are entitled to believe what you will, but your beliefs must to be subject to criticism and scrutiny just like mine
Here is a true story. A young philosophy lecturer — let us call him Shane — is charged with the task of introducing young minds to the wonders of philosophy. His course, a standard Introduction to Philosophy, contains a section on the philosophy of religion: the usual arguments-for-and-against-the-existence-of-God stuff. One of Shane’s students complains to Shane’s Dean that his cherished religious beliefs are being attacked. ‘I have a right to my beliefs,’ the student claims. Shane’s repeated interrogations of those beliefs amounts to an attack on this right to believe. Shane’s institution is not a particularly enlightened one. The Dean concurs with the student, and instructs Shane to desist in teaching philosophy of religion.
But what exactly does it mean to claim ‘a right to my beliefs’? It often comes up in a religious context, but can arise in others too. Shane could just as easily be teaching Marxist theory to a laissez-faire capitalist student, or imparting evidence for global warming to a global warming sceptic. Whatever the context, the claim of a right to one’s beliefs is a curious one. We might distinguish two different interpretations of this claim. First, there is the evidential one. You have an evidential right to your belief if you can provide appropriate evidence in support of it. I have, in this sense, no right to believe that the moon is made of green cheese because my belief is lacking in any supporting evidence.
The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA's history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows
Cindy Tam's insight:
When do you take a stand for your principles and when do you quietly put them aside? If you could stand up for your principles without repercussions how would your life be different? Do individuals have a moral duty to disobey unjust laws?
"Imagine a molecule that underlies the virtues that glue societies together. Imagine that it brought out the better angels of our nature with just a sniff and could “rebond our troubled world.” Imagine that it was the “source of love and prosperity” and explained “what makes us good and evil.”
Well, carry on imagining."
It's a bit more complicated than that. A more comprehensive perspective on the function and effects of oxytocin. How can we elicit this balanced, "bigger picture", critical-thinking perspective among the narrowly focused?
"The cream of society may rise to the top, but so might the scum — researchers now find that people in the upper crust may be more likely to engage in lying, cheating and other kinds of unethical activity than those in lower classes.
"It's not that hard to reverse these patterns of behavior," Piff added. "Even a simple reminder of the needs of other people actually does a lot to change patterns we'd otherwise document. As Warren Buffett said, the rich aren't necessarily bad — they just need to be reminded of that.""
"You might not expect executives of top financial businesses to admit outright that they're crooks, but that's pretty much what they did in responding to a new survey released today by the whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow."
We know the problem exists, we know some of the variables, so what comes next? How can we create systems with incentives for honesty and integrity rather than lying and cheating?
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