But, the simplifications are ok because were left with a scenario that has, for most, a strong intuitive tug and that can be easily tweaked get different reactions. That last part is important, because by tweaking we can begin to figure out the (sometimes surprising) things that can affect moral cognition.
Moral psychologists are interested in the responses for their own sake, and moral philosophers are interested for exactly the reasons Greene talks about — if our moral intuition can be tossed hither and tither by something so silly as whether we touch the fat man or use a trap door, should we trust our gut reaction for any moral situation?
Moral psychology is a scam and hatred is a reasonable response to scams. I feel revulsion for a lot of the scam artists who call themselves “philosophers,” and I am not alone in this, but to explain my history with such scam artists would require thousands of words.
The trick is not to get entirely caught up in hatred. Just soaking and wallowing in hatred isn’t going to do anything good for anyone.
The trick is to recognize that sometimes revulsion is healthy and there is a way to make it into an opportunity for creativity.
Let me remind you of a little bit of recent history:
Ferrucio Lamborghini was a simple man born into a family who farmed grapes for a living. His mechanical knowledge and interest eventually lead him to enter the business of making tractors. During World War II, most of Italy’s industrial output would be related to war needs thus neglecting other needs like agricultural equipment. This is why after the war and due to post-war reform initiatives, his tractor manufacturing became very popular and lucrative. So business was doing well for Ferrucio, after some years he even started other companies that manufactured oil heaters and air conditioners.
And so he buys a Ferrari, being that he loves tinkering with cars and Ferrari is a prestigious car brand affordable only to the successful and powerful. He travelled all the way to Maranello to purchase a Ferrari 250GT. After owning it for some time, he then noticed that it had an inferior clutch that would always break and would force him to bring the car all the way back to Maranello over and over. He brings up the complaint all the way to the owner, Enzo Ferrari, and argued to him that his tractors had better clutches than Ferrari cars. Pride-filled Enzo Ferrari shrugged off his complaint thinking that a mere farmer had nothing against the prestige and pedigree of his Ferrari cars. This is what pushed Ferrucio Lamborghini into the business of automobiles.
Being that Ferrucio Lamborghini was a clever entrepreneur, he knew exactly how he could sell and make profit out of his automobiles and be competitive against his already established opponent Enzo Ferrari. His mechanical know-how gave him the idea of exactly what Ferrari cars are lacking—ride quality, better interior, and high performance without compromising tractability. And the interesting part is, most of the components used in his Lamborghini cars would be the same as those used in his tractors.
Today, Lamborghini is a very competitive car-making company that is just as popular as Ferrari. They are producing very stylish cars with very powerful performance. And so the lesson of the story is to never underestimate anyone. If only Enzo Ferrari lowered his pride, his company wouldn’t have to deal with what is now a very significant competition.
I don’t like Ferrari cars or Lamborghini cars; I think they’re both ill-suited to my needs. If I were going to choose an Italian motor vehicle, I might go with a Vespa; Vespa scooters are fuel-efficient and relatively inexpensive.
But I do admire the fact that Ferrucio Lamborghini was able to make something creative out of his hatred. He didn’t just stew in his frustration, he didn’t just lash out violently. He didn’t lie and cover up his anger. He recognized something specific – in his case, a clutch inferior to a tractor clutch – and he took practical action.
I don’t know much about engines and gear-clutches, but I do know that “moral psychology” is a scam. Maybe in the near future, I’ll find some specific action to take about this, or maybe I’ll take action on some other repulsive annoyance. At any rate, I’m going to make a tag for this topic, because it’s the kind of thing I could write a lot of posts about.