The Moral Instinct By Pinker

845 Words Apr 5th, 2016 4 Pages
What is morality? Where does our sense of morality come from and why is it important for us to know? The cognitive scientist, psychologist, linguist, and scholar, Steven Pinker discusses this in his essay, “The Moral Instinct”. In this essay, Pinker claims that our morality sense is innate, it constantly changes, and it is universal among each culture. Pinker also explains that moral sense shapes our judgement as it is something that we value and seek in other people. The science of the moral sense is important since it shows how morality impacts our actions and it explains why we act in certain ways.

Morality, according to Pinker, is important because it affects the way we think and the way we act. Pinker believes that moralization is like “on and off switch” and when it is turned on it “commandeers our thinking” (460). Morality is something that is always changing because our thoughts on how people ought to behave are constantly changing. Pinker calls this the “moralization switch”, and it is basically when something that was acceptable before now is unacceptable. One example of moralization he gives is smoking. Smoking at public places before used to be socially acceptable, but now it is condemned due to its harmful effects. Also, Pinker notes that the same has happened with the food industry. He states, “Food alone has become a minefield, with critics sermonizing about the size of sodas, the chemistry of fat, the freedom of chickens, the price of coffee beans, the…
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