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Means vs. Ends & morality

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanSeptember 11, 2006 10:14 PM


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A few days ago Alex Palazzo posted about Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong. The title is pretty self-explanatory. The author has a Moral Sense Test that you can take. I took it. If you plan on taking the Moral Sense Test, please click now before you read further and get "spoilers." Back? Below is my summary, you can compare it to yours.

The scenarios you judged in this test pit means against ends, whic is a common philosophical contrast. Each of the characters must choose whether to use bad means to acheive good ends -- for instance, whether to harm a single person in order to help many others. The statistic provided is an indication of the choices you made about means versus ends. The closer it is to 1, the more heavily you appeared to weight means (the rights of one); the closer it is to 7, the more heavily you appeared to weigh ends (the benefit of many). Your statistic is 3.5. So far, the average statistic for subjects on this test is 3.9. It is important to realize that this statistic is merely provided for your own interest. The MST researchers make no claims about its validity as a psychological measure, nor do we make any claims about what choices are right or wrong. If you refer other people to this test we ask that you do not describe this statistic or its derivation so that they may complete the test with an open mind. Thank you for your participation.

This makes a little sense, as my libertarianish tendencies have a mild skew toward means as opposed to ends. Reading Anarchy, State and Utopia will do that to you....

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