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Old 01-05-2012, 09:52 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,569
Default Re: Matt Yglesias: Creating Jobs by Cutting Wages

Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
Yes. The theory is in all likelihood insufficient to describe all moral factors involved. What is not disputable is the consistency to which respondents react to stimuli and the empirical data cross tens of thousands of participants.
But you are making some inferences here. First, there's no particular a priori reason to assume that the best moral calculus would weight all virtues equally.

In particular, I am skeptical as to whether rating purity and care as equally important is the sign of virtue. For that matter, I don't see Authority as an unmitigated good. It depends on the particular authority in question. Radical Islamists would score high on authority, as would your previously mentioned abortion bomber. Your Tutsi and Hutus would score very high on In-Group, as would your Klan members, etc. It's unclear that more is always better or for that matter, that Care *should* be weighted no higher than authority or the aforementioned purity.

It's reasonably intuitive in terms of descriptive- most (not all but most and I am not claiming to have a representative sample) people I know conform to the patterns described. Liberals do weight care and fairness higher than other things. Conservatives do weight care and fairness lower than liberals do, and authority and ingroup higher. Okay.

It's unclear to me that each of these weighs the same such that scoring higher in care and fairness and low on the others is morally worse than scoring moderately on all or the same on all.
Indeed, in his JPSP article, Haidt said "The moral thinking of liberals and conservatives may not be a matter of more versus less but of different opinions about what considerations are relevant to moral judgment."
Sure. Again, you seem to be imposing some sort of ranking that Haidt wasn't endorsing, at least in his published work.

As well, your "liberals only have 4 and conservatives have all 6" is a very inaccurate portrayal. They all have all 6. Conservatives are lower than liberals on two of them and higher than liberals on three of them. Quoting Haidt: "Importantly, the differences between liberals and conservatives were neither binary nor absolute. Participants across the political spectrum agreed that individualizing concerns are very relevant to moral judgment. Even on the binding foundations, liberals did not (on average) indicate that these were never relevant to moral judgment."

he also framed fairness and care as individualizing values and the other three as binding ones, which at least would make you as a libertarian pause before you leap to the conclusion that the individualizing values are no more important than the others.

To further drive home the point that it's not clear that the dimensions all have the same prescriptive value, here is the entire list of his examples of violations of Fairness, from his study:
1. Cheat in a game of cards played for money with some people you don't know well.
2. Steal from a poor person and use the money to buy a gift for a rich person
3. Say no to a friend’s request to help him move into a new apartment, after he helped you move the month before
4. Throw out a box of ballots, during an election, to help your favored candidate win
5. Sign a secret-but-binding pledge to only hire people of your race in your company

Here is the entire list of violations of Purity:
1. Sign a piece of paper that says “I hereby sell my soul, after my death, to whoever has this piece of paper”
2. cook and eat your dog, after it dies of natural causes
3. Get plastic surgery that adds a 2-inch tail on to the end of your spine
4. Get a blood transfusion of 1 pint of disease-free, compatible blood from a convicted child molester
5. Attend a performance art piece in which all participants (including you) have to act like animals for 30 minutes, including crawling around naked and urinating on stage

Do you honestly see violations of these two classes of things as equal in importance?

(just to be open and honest, most of the purity list doesn't appeal to me, except 4 which I wouldn't care at all about, but I don't consider my lack of eagerness to do them (except 1) violations of some important moral code.)

But you, sugarkang- do you weight these two things equally? And do you really think someone who rates these two things the same are morally superior to someone who wants to avoid violations of Fairness more than violations of Purity?

(I pick fairness, because I wonder if you are aware of how Haidt is defining it- it's largely procedural rather than some kind of equality of outcomes deal that I think you assume it is, and because it's the purity dimension that according to the JPSP article most strongly distinguishes liberals and conservatives.)

Last edited by miceelf; 01-05-2012 at 09:57 PM..
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