Thursday, December 8, 2016

Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil by Paul Bloom

Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil by Paul Bloom was recommended reading for a class on morality that I took a few months ago. The idea of studying babies to see how they react to determine just how much of morality is hardwired in us fascinated me. I read the book with intense interest, particularly the studies. I couldn't help but wonder if the researchers were reading into the babies' reactions to get the results they wanted, at least at times. Bloom writes an interesting and engaging book, but the skeptic in me kept showing up when he described how the studies were conducted. Just Babies is a fascinating read that feels like a starting point and left me with questions rather than answers, but maybe that was the point. Bloom explores many aspects of morality, moral philosophy, and moral psychology in conjunction with the studies conducted on babies. Just Babies struck me as more a book about whether or not babies differentiate between harmfulness and kindness than about the origins of good and evil.

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