Moral Theory and Green Lantern

Check out this article from today’s Globe and Mail newspaper on Moral Theory and Green Lantern.

An excerpt:

We can also see this play out in the debates between different forms of moral theory. Each of them is assumed as a commonsensical standpoint by its advocates, but they are deeply at odds with each other. For utilitarians, it seems obvious that decisions ought to be formed in a way that will promote the greatest good of the greatest number. For deontologists, who are focused on duty and universal principles, it seems just as obvious that we owe each and every person a respect that can’t be overridden. And for care ethicists, who focus on context and relationships between people, the impersonal calculations of utilitarians and deontologists can seem excessively cold and unfeeling. These debates show that, while our own moral principles are obvious to us, they’re not obvious to everyone.

A few tidbits:

1. A certain psychology professor that I know, takes issue with the authors’ presentation of Jonathan Haidt‘s research  on the five foundations of morality.  The authors of the article state that:

Prof. Haidt finds that people who identify as liberals tend to base their moral reasoning on the first two foundations, whereas people who identify as conservatives tend to use the last two.

What Haidt actually says is that liberals tend to use two foundations (harm and fairness), but conservatives use all five foundations.  (Check out his TED talk on the subject here, starting at about the 8:40 mark).

2. Turns out the authors of the Globe and Mail article are also authors of a book on philosophy and Green Lantern.  Check out their contribution to the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series — Green Lantern and Philosophy: No Evil Shall Escape This Book.

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0 thoughts on “Moral Theory and Green Lantern

  1. Mark D. White

    Thanks for noticing and highlighting our work, Amanda–and you’re absolutely correct on the Haidt point, of course. Our original draft of the article did include that, but in the end we decided that a direct contrast would be better given the very brief treatment we were able to give his ideas.

  2. Pingback: Green Lantern and the Psychology of Willpower | Political Jesus

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