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Moral Acrobatics – How We Avoid Ethical Ambiguity by Thinking in Black and White - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Moral Acrobatics: How We Avoid Ethical Ambiguity by Thinking in Black and White

Philippe Rochat

Abstract

Pure monsters do not exist. That is difficult for us to fathom. Terrorists and other serial killers massacre innocent people, yet are perfectly capable of loving their own parents, neighbors, and children. Hitler was a vegetarian. He sent millions to their death while contemptuous of meat eaters and a strong advocate of animal welfare. He loved his pets. High-ranking Nazis were often cultured and had strong moral views. How do we reconcile such moral ambiguities? Could it capture something deep about how we build values? As members of a uniquely symbolic and self-conscious species, aware of it ... More

Keywords: morality, self-consciousness, deception, lying, double standard, ambiguity, parochialism, development, essentialism, categorization

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780190057657
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190057657.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Philippe Rochat, author
Professor of Psychology, Emory University