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  • Can Babies Teach Us About Morality?

    By Jenny Mardner, The Rundown- PBS/Science Nation Summary: What can one baby, three puppets and a tricky Tupperware lid tell us about the roots of morality? Can infants distinguish between good and bad at such a young age? NewsHour science correspondent Miles O'Brien reports on research being conducted...
     Posted by: agomberg
  • The Evolution of Prejudice

    By Daisy Grewal, Scientific American Mind 4/5/11 An excerpt: Psychologists have long known that many people are prejudiced towards others based on group affiliations, be they racial, ethnic, religious, or even political. However, we know far less about why people are prone to prejudice in the first place...
     Posted by: agomberg
  • More Reasons to Be Nice: It's Less Work For Everyone

    3/9/11, Science Daily A polite act shows respect. But a new study of a common etiquette -- holding a door for someone -- suggests that courtesy may have a more practical, though unconscious, shared motivation: to reduce the work for those involved. The research, by Joseph P. Santamaria and David A. Rosenbaum...
     Posted by: agomberg
  • What is a Good Life?

    By Ronald Dworkin, The New York Review of Books Plato and Aristotle treated morality as a genre of interpretation. They tried to show the true character of each of the main moral and political virtues (such as honor, civic responsibility, and justice), first by relating each to the others, and then to...
     Posted by: agomberg
  • The Social Animal

    By David Brooks, The New Yorker 1/17/11 Harold and Erica got their first glimpse of each other in front of a Barnes & Noble. They smiled broadly as they approached, and a deep, primeval process kicked in. Harold liked what he saw, from the waist-to-hip ratio to the clear skin, all indicative of health...
     Posted by: agomberg
  • Searching for the Source of a Fountain of Courage

    By Natalie Angier, The New York Times An excerpt: In his 20 years as a firefighter and paramedic in Colorado Springs, Bruce Monson, 43, has had his little fist-bumps with death: a burning roof collapsing on top of him, toxic fumes nearly suffocating him. Yet far more terrifying than any personal threats...
     Posted by: agomberg
  • Saying Yes to Saying No

    By Meghan Clyne, Wall Street Journal An excerpt: If you've already ditched your New Year's resolution, you are not alone: These days, self-control isn't exactly America's strong suit. Our economy is hobbled because too many of us bought homes we couldn't afford. Obesity is rampant...
     Posted by: agomberg
  • An Unconventional History of Human Rights

    PBS By David E. Anderson An excerpt: In a provocative and contrarian new book, “The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History” (Harvard University Press, 2010), Columbia University professor Samuel Moyn outlines the moral and political dilemmas in which the movement currently finds itself, describing his...
     Posted by: agomberg
  • The Art of Social Change

    By Kwame Anthony Appiah, in The New York Times In 1929, the Church of Scotland Mission, which had a long and successful history of missionary work among the Kikuyu in colonial Kenya, began a campaign to eradicate the practice of female circumcision. The results were hardly what church members hoped for...
     Posted by: agomberg
  • What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For?

    By Kwame Anthony Appiah in The Washington Post. "Once, pretty much everywhere, beating your wife and children was regarded as a father's duty, homosexuality was a hanging offense, and waterboarding was approved -- in fact, invented -- by the Catholic Church. Through the middle of the 19th century...
     Posted by: agomberg
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