Posts Tagged King David
Paul Bloom has a fascinating article on the morality of babies in the New York Times Magazine, in which he provides an overview of the psychological studies he has been conducting at the Infant Cognition Center at Yale University.
The article is quite extensive, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I wanted to note that his findings definitely identify signs for significant moral capacities in babies. Whether it’s showing preference for “good guys” vs. “bad guys” or smiling/laughing at “justice” vs. “injustice,” Bloom shows that babies have at least some sort of moral aptitude.
As Bloom concludes: “Babies possess certain moral foundations — the capacity and willingness to judge the actions of others, some sense of justice, gut responses to altruism and nastiness.”
I take exception to plenty of things in Bloom’s article, particularly the Singeresque notion that babies must be “humanized” (i.e. civilized) in order to be considered moral agents or worthwhile beings. Mere self-consciousness is hardly a starting point for discussing moral agency, and such arguments usually exclude the mentally disabled and plenty of others from the realm of moral capability. However, as a whole, I think Bloom’s findings are a great starting point for bringing the Blooms, Singers, and Dawkinses of the world to a proper view of human life.
If the moral agency and moral worth of babies are thought to be components we can gauge with human instruments, it would follow that such lives can be discriminated against using our Read the rest of this entry »