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week 5

The Moral Instinct- Steven Pinker

The Moral Instinct, by Steven Pinker goes over what having morals is defined as and how they change due to different cultures or from changes in the circumstances. He provides multiple examples of what the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ thing would be in specific cases and involves the reader by asking them these questions without providing them with the answers in order to have a natural reaction to it. Having morals can be genetic, but can also be changed depending on your environment, religious beliefs, or what your culture is. Pinker also asks his readers if morality is a real thing and questions there quick answers on what is defined as doing the right thing and what is considered not.

Pinker likes to test his audience with different philosopher’s ideas on moral reasoning and then explain to them why they chose the answers they did to involve them in the article. The passage is very factual and most of the time dry, but that kind of involvement makes it interesting to read and by the end you feel like you’ve truly learned something about other people and yourself. It makes you think about why you help people when you don’t expect anything back in return and if you just learned to act that way or if it’s in your genes. he raises very open and thoughtful ideas about who we are morally and also how those morals, or lack of, can bring us together or separate us.



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