Babies Are Not Amoral Beings

Discussion in 'Science & History' started by Mirage, May 7, 2010.

  1. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    Psychological research on babies has shown that they have morals even before being taught them.

    The Moral Life of Babies -

    If you don't read all 7 pages, at least watch the 5 minute video.

    What are your thoughts on the results of these studies?
    Stegosaurus likes this.

  2. Stegosaurus

    Stegosaurus Registered Member

    You don't even need to read all 7 pages--this favorite quote of mine by Harvey Diamond dovetails quite nicely:

    "You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I'll buy you a new car." :lol:

    But yes, I totally agree for the most part (aside from children who are born with the predisposition to be serial killers, in which case I think the argument is that the part of their brains that process proper emotions like compassion and love are actually malformed). I studied a lot of this in psychology as well as the concept of universal moral cores in my ethics studies as well.

    It really throws the "tabula rasa" right out the window.
    EDIT: Further, many non-human animals have exhibited what can be interpreted as "morals," which makes this even more interesting and blows away Freud's idea of us being born as amoral "animals."

    They raise this in the article on page 3, but I have to say that after reading a lot about the claims of "universal moral underpinnings," I have to say I am inclined to believe in them. Certainly higher morals vary by person to person and culture to culture, but really the cornerstones remain similar. I had a hard time swallowing that idea when I first heard it--my kneejerk reaction was, "NO! We are all individuals and free to decide our own morals!" But by the end of the semester of reading through hundreds of pages of arguments, I think there is good reason to believe that a universal moral is fairly well etched into the psyches of humans--whether that is for survival of the species or whatnot.
    Last edited: May 7, 2010
  3. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    I've only read part of it so far, but I find this article quite interesting.

    Not only are babies possibly moral agents, they may have more of a grasp of physics, math, and even psychology than we thought.

    * * *

    Also, I thought the Onion article that was mentioned was hilarious, but also brought up some interesting points.

    New Study Reveals Most Children Unrepentant Sociopaths | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

    You really do see a lot of that excessively self-centered behavior in kids (but at the same time, I can think of all sorts of anecdotal examples of babies doing things that seemed altruistic).
    Last edited: May 7, 2010
  4. yourwebcrafter

    yourwebcrafter Registered Member

    I wonder if there is a difference between instinct, altruism and
    I have to admit myself a skeptic many times when research makes claims about this or that, it is well established fact that research through observation is often more telling of the observers own personality and perceptions than those that they are observing. We as humans have a propensity for misinterpretation of fact so as to more easily be able to accept or understand.

    With that said, I thought perhaps a little Skinner behaviorism would fit with this subject perhaps...

  5. stevenfermi

    stevenfermi Registered Member

    A case between Nature vs. Nurture--apparently the tabula rasa has just been proven false. :O

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