Less Than Human

‘Less Than Human’: The Psychology Of Cruelty
March 29, 2011

Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher

is this a learned behavior? Or is this wired, somehow, into our brains?

Prof. SMITH: I think it’s – there are components of both. We tend to – here is what seems to be very deeply embedded in us: the idea of a hierarchy of value. Now, I don’t know if that is innate or not, but it’s certainly deep. The tendency to essentialize, which I haven’t spoken about yet, seems to be innate. That is, we have a basic tendency to think of the world as composed of different kinds of things, and we assume that what makes something a member of a kind is that it possesses an essence. So we do this with biological species – we, you know, we distinguish dogs from cats from parrots from moose.

And when we start asking ourselves, well, what makes something a dog, what makes something a cat, the most tempting way to go – which is false, by the way – is that it’s got a species essence.

Third-party punishment as a costly signal of trustworthiness

Third-party punishment as a costly signal of trustworthiness
Jillian J. Jordan, Moshe Hoffman, Paul Bloom & David G. Rand
Nature 530, 473–476 (25 February 2016)

…the roots of this outrage are, in part, self-serving. We suggest that expressing moral outrage can serve as a form of personal advertisement: People who invest time and effort in condemning those who behave badly are trusted more.
What’s the Point of Moral Outrage?
FEB. 26, 2016

LinkedIn to Pay $13 Million in Spam Settlement

LinkedIn to Pay $13 Million in Spam Settlement
Oct. 6, 2015

The professional networking site LinkedIn has agreed to a $13 million out of court settlement in a class action lawsuit that claims reputations may have been damaged by multiple emails the company sent on behalf of users.

The suit originated in California in 2013, when LinkedIn users sued the company claiming its “Add Connections” feature hurt their professional reputation by relentlessly messaging their email contacts with requests to connect on LinkedIn, Fortune reports. In the complaint, users described being embarrassed by the emails and complained that it was very difficult to stop LinkedIn from sending more emails once the barrage had begun. The settlement affects users who signed up for LinkedIn’s “Add Connections” feature between September 2011 and October 2014.


Millions of hacked LinkedIn IDs advertised ‘for sale’
18 May 2016

“The Golden Compass” turns 20

‘The Golden Compass’ Turns 20 (Its Daemon Has Probably Settled)
September 26, 2015

There is a special place in the canon for the truly sophisticated children’s fantasy series — Tolkein, LeGuin, Lewis, L’Engle … and Pullman. This year, the first book in Philip Pullman’s famed His Dark Materials trilogy turns 20 years old.

Pullman tells … that stories are the way to teach morality.”I’m not the first person to observe this fact, that people remember stories better than they remember commands,” he says. “One of the greatest storytellers of all time, Jesus of Nazareth, told stories in order to make his moral teaching more memorable.”