Category Archives: Morality

Ethical liars

(featured image: Will Temple/Flickr CC BY 2.0) Our morality is not quite so black-and-white as we sometimes like to believe One of my earliest memories, I must have been four or five, is when my mother, to her embarrassment, forgot … Continue reading

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Good people… but not that good

(featured image: User18526052 via Freepik) The good news is that we are prosocial; in other news, it comes with strings and conditions attached Take a look around you. Unless you’re in the middle of a nature reserve, miles from human … Continue reading

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The asymmetrical price of friendship

(featured image: geralt via Pixabay) If you buy something from a friend, you might ask them for a discount – but if you are selling them something, would you ask them for a higher price? Humans are social animals. Our … Continue reading

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Priors and prejudice

(featured image: Nicole Köhler/Pixabay) How open is our mind, really? A few days ago, a prominent economist posted a table on Twitter. In itself this was not a particularly remarkable event, were it not for the fact that it showed … Continue reading

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Why does favouritism persist?

(featured image: Paul Sableman/Flickr CC BY) We tend to be ambivalent towards preferential treatment – kind of OK when we benefit (or we grant it to others), but dislike it when it’s others who gain. Or is it not that … Continue reading

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The dark side of motivation

(featured image: Jesper Sehested – PlusLexia/Flickr CC BY) Motivation is what allows us to survive, prosper and reproduce – but it is also behind the worst of polarization and tribalism. We should use it with care, and engage critical thinking … Continue reading

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The elusive equilibrium

The notion of balance is relevant in more than a few ways in our lives. But it is not always easy – or even possible – to establish it. People have been using balance scales for a long time. The … Continue reading

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The consequences of loyalty

When rules and consequences clash, we had better weigh up carefully what matters most When a pandemic is wreaking havoc, and many hundreds of people are killed by a virus every day, it is important that the population as a … Continue reading

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On viruses and trolleys

(featured image: NIAID CC BY and withvengeance86 CC BY) We can catch a virus on a trolley, but there is another connection – or why we sometimes must think the unthinkable The coronavirus, in the meantime rechristened COVID-19 by the … Continue reading

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The mystery of the moral obligation

(featured image credit: Arek Socha/Pixabay) It may sound like the title of a Sherlock Holmes story, but moral obligation is rather more mysterious Imagine you are offered an interest free loan, with a moral obligation to repay it. That’s it. … Continue reading

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