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Uncategorized, week 5, week 6

Steve Pinker: The Moral Instinct

Steve Pinker’s article, “The Moral Instinct,” published in The New York Times on January 13, 2008 draws the readers with a simple question that seems easy to answer; “which of the following people would you say is the most admirable: Mother Theresa, Bill Gates or Norman Borlaug?” This question, as simple as it may seem, leads to how are answers are based on moral senses, an emotional response, rather then through justification. Through many different examples, from the siblings in France to the fat man jumping off the bridge, does in fact prove how our moral decisions are often reflected on our emotional and irrational thoughts rather than through rationality and justification. Although there have been evidence to suggest moral sense is something we are born with, with scenarios mentioned in the article, it is our cultural society, religious beliefs and diverse community that affects our moral decision that hold different values from others around us.

Although the article was long, I enjoyed reading it. What Pinker does that I admire is he keeps the readers interested. All the questions he poses in the article and the examples of different scenarios all test and challenge our moral decisions. Every reader reading the article will definitely have different decisions of what is mortal and immortal. I agree when the author mentions, “ Putting God in charge of morality is one way to solve the problem…” Practices of religious beliefs does impact our decision on what acts are considered moral and immortal. When I read this, I immediately thought of my mother. My mother is a religious Greek Orthodox Christian whose decisions and actions are based on her faith. She would follow, under the category as any other person, making their decision through religious or emotional aspects rather through justification.

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