[ExI] META: Overposting (psychology of morals)

Giulio Prisco giulio at gmail.com
Sun Feb 27 12:58:22 UTC 2011

Thanks Anders, this is really relevant.

I think freedom should be an independent "sacred" value, separate from
the the fairness foundation (otherwise the model says that
libertarians = liberals). Let's call it 6.

Then my own position is something like:
1, 2 and 6 are very important values.
I don't really care for 3, 4 and 5
I prefer calling 1, 2 and 6 "very important" instead of "sacred",
because I prefer not holding anything sacred and considering
everything as open to discussion.

On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 1:06 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
> Giulio Prisco wrote:
>> I don't see why we should refrain from discussing important things.
>> I am very interested in the libertarian trend, but the problem is that
>> it always degenerates into a hormone-driven fight between
>> fundamentalist libertarians and fundamentalist anti-libertarians. I
>> wonder why it is like that.
> I think it can be explained by Jonathan Haidt's moral foundations theory and
> Phil Tetlock's sacred values theory. Basically, libertarians and
> anti-libertarians step on each other's sacred values.
> According to Haidt, morality across cultures tend to be based on five
> fundamental values that are given different weight between different
> cultures and individuals:
>  1. Care for others, protecting them from harm.   2. Fairness, Justice,
> treating others equally.
>  3. Loyalty to your group, family, nation.   4. Respect for tradition and
> legitimate authority.   5. Purity, avoiding disgusting things, foods,
> actions.
> Liberals (american sense) value care and fairness higher than the others,
> while american conservatives value all five at the same time.
> Tetlock observed that certain things are "sacred" values to people, and that
> trading them for a "secular" value triggers strong emotional reactions -
> these tradeoffs are taboo: you are not supposed to even *think* about how
> much money a human life is worth (if you seriously do, then you are seen as
> a bad person) and people forced into tradeoffs often do interesting
> self-purification actions afterwards like washing hands or giving more to
> charity.
> http://www.scribd.com/doc/311935/Tetlock-2003-Thinking-the-unthinkable-sacred-values-and-taboo-cognitions
> In political discussions a lot of heat is generated when one side doesn't
> feel anything for something sacred to the other side and accidentally
> threatens it.
> What is sacred to libertarians? I think freedom is an obvious sacred value,
> which might go into the fairness foundation. But beyond that I don't think
> libertarians (by being libertarians) have that many strong sacred values -
> *just like transhumanists*. We are all happy to question the human condition
> and all accepted morals in profound ways. This is borne out in experiments.
> Libertarians are less unwilling to *refuse* making sacred tradeoffs for
> money than other groups, and find the five foundations less sacred
> altogether.
> http://faculty.virginia.edu/haidtlab/mft/GHN.final.JPSP.2008.12.09.pdf
> http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1665934
> This has consequences for discussing politics. Conservatives get enraged by
> liberals trading purity or respect for fairness. But both get riled up by
> libertarians trading almost anything for freedom. And libertarians get upset
> by how readily everybody else trades their sacred value for mere care,
> purity or other less important things.
> So that is my general explanation why libertarians (and transhumanists!)
> generally tend to end up in hot discussions.
> Solution?
> --
> Anders Sandberg,
> Future of Humanity Institute James Martin 21st Century School Philosophy
> Faculty Oxford University
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