Position Paper - Moral Psychology

Essay by RectifierCollege, UndergraduateA+, June 2004

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Can a series of experiments prove empathy results in genuine altruism? Some psychologists think so, while some critics challenge the idea as sexist. In the text Contemporary Business Issues with Readings, Reading 3 discusses what motivates us to be good, bad, or indifferent to one another, and the moral psychology involved in our actions towards others. In preset situations discussed in the reading, individuals act in different manners with different outcomes with regards to helping another person. These documented findings are set in the "here and now" and do not take into account past experiences and histories of the subjects being reviewed. I do not fully agree with the findings and views of this document, partly because the suggested testing methods are staged. Individuals are subjected to tasks like lab rats and are expected to react in a certain manner. I feel that this is an inadequate justification of human psychology and the choices we make, due to the fact that these findings are based on hypothetical pre-planned scenarios.

The sums of these findings are not taken from real life observations and/or actions, and I consider this as an important consideration for the quotients involved.

Sometimes we do not know why we act the way we do. Good gestures towards one another are generally due to kindness. Empathy does not drive our senses each and every time we lend a hand or hold open a door. Do we behave well because we are motivated by "reasoned moral principles" or is it just our instinct and emotion? If it were morally unjust to assist someone of another religion, and save them from drowning, morals would not play a role there. Common sense and emotions take over. Acting as a human being, you would aid that drowning person. The praise of onlookers,