In some way, my book is an optimistic book.
Because I argue about all of our um…
and now empathy leads us astray.
But in order to make that argument,
we also have to have an appreciation
of we’re smart enough to realize
that empathy can lead us astray.
and that we’re smart enough to act
so as to override its pernicious effects.
So it’s empathy that causes me to favor
um, somebody who looks like me
over somebody who doesn’t
or somebody from my country or ethnicity over a stranger.
But it’s rationality
that leads me to say:
Hey, that’s not reasonable.
There is no reason to do it. It’s not fair.
It’s not impartial.
And so we should try to override empathy.
And my outlook is very optimistic.
I’m a huge fan of reason and rationality
that we can work together
一起商议 探讨 争辩
and deliberate and talk and argue,
and through this, come with some great accomplishments.
So, what I argue is that
we have the capacity for rationality and reason.
This is actually fairly controversial.
在我的领域 我共事的心理学家 哲学家 神经系科学家
In my field, my fellow psychologists, philosophers, neuroscientists
often argue that we are prisoners of emotions that were foundamentally and profoundly irrational,
and that reason plays very little role in our everyday lives,
which is to say, well,
determinism of a sort is true.
我们做什么 如何做 怎么思考
What we do, how we act, how we think
is a product of events that
have started a very long time ago plus physical law.
We are just kind of we are physical creatures,
we can’t escape from causality.
So we’ll just continue doing what we’re doing.
One of the main goals
of my work is to argue against that.
I think that notions of moral responsibility can be reconciled with determinism.
But I think determinism is correct.
But none of that challenges rationality.
And as an illustration you could imagine your computer
that is entirely determined but is also entirely rational.
You could imagine another computer is entirely determined
but is capricious and arbitrary and random.
And so even in a deterministic universe,
the question remains: what sort of computer are we?
Are we emotional creatures or are we rational creatures?
But there is nothing
not the slightest bit of inconsistency between the claim
that we live in a determined universe
and that we’re rational reasoning creatures.
I think it’s worked with science.
Science is the paradigmatic case
with the exercise of reason by these imperfect people
has come out with extraordinary discoveries,
from the origin of the universe, to the origin of life,
the atomic structure of material objects. Amazing things!
And I think we could do the same thing with morality.
I think people can argue and deliberate about morality.
Now, whenever I say this,
whenever I talk about empathy,
I always get a cynical response
and a cynical response is I think reasonable enough
which is to say:
Well that’s not how it works in a real world.
I was reminded recently that we’re supposed to live in
a post-fact world right now.
In the real world,
people are persuaded by whoever yells the loudest,
whoever appeals to their self-interests,
whoever tweaks their emotions including empathy.
And I honestly don’t doubt the that’s right in the short term.
I think that in any case
if I wanted to persuade somebody to go to war against Syria,
to give money to this cause,
to expel that group for my country.
I would appeal to their emotions
and anybody who appeals to their emotions
would be much more successful
than those who attempt to make a rational deliberate argument.
But I think in a long run over time,
reason and rationality tends to win out.
I look at the world we are in now
and for all of its many flaws and problems,
I see signs of those moral accomplishments all over the place.
Well, I think we care more for people, we had forgotten about
that we have a broader moral circle as Peter Singer would say.
We are less prone to kill each other
as Steve Pinker has demonstrated in his work.
And there is a lot of explanation for these changes,
but I think one key component has been exercised a reason.
And I’m optimistic we’ll continue this in the future.
BIG THINK. COM