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最近读的这两本书刚好有一些微妙的思想碰撞(Pinker 的那本才刚开始读)。

Haidt 这位道德心理学家,在当年听耶鲁大学心理学导论公开课时就已经知道了,对他的研究也很感兴趣,但他这本 The Righteous Mind(《正义之心》)我一直拖到最近才看完。应该说最打动我的还是那些原来就已经知道的东西,比如 moral dumbfounding 相关的实验和解释,但 Haidt 对 WEIRD (Western, educated, and from industrialized, rich, and democratic countries) 世界之外的道德观的同情与认可还是没有说服我。本来按他自己所说,他只是在做描述性的工作,但有意无意之中,其实讲了很多「应该」。并且他似乎还认为「应该」是不能被理性、数学和逻辑讨论的。

这本书让我想到那句「存在即合理」,不是说黑格尔的原意,而是说很多人的一种观念:一件事既然长期、广泛地存在,那必然有它的道理,有为什么得以长存的原因,我们应该尝试去理解它,而不是盲目批判。然而大到等级社会、种族歧视、压迫、战争,小到男尊女卑、三从四德、守贞、闹婚,世界上有很多事,都长期、广泛地存在,背后也的确有原因,但这些原因只不过是改善中的障碍,而不是抵制批判的辩护词。读 Pinker 的 Enlightenment Now,这种感觉就更加强烈。

[I]n psychology our goal is descriptive. We want to discover how the moral mind actually works, not how it ought to work, and that can’t be done by reasoning, math, or logic.

Jonathan Haidt. 2012. The Righteous Mind

We take its gifts for granted: newborns who will live more than eight decades, markets overflowing with food, clean water that appears with a flick of a finger and waste that disappears with another, pills that erase a painful infection, sons who are not sent off to war, daughters who can walk the streets in safety, critics of the powerful who are not jailed or shot, the world’s knowledge and culture available in a shirt pocket.

Steven Pinker. 2018. Enlightenment Now

[T]he economist Friedrich Hayek observed, “If old truths are to retain their hold on men’s minds, they must be restated in the language and concepts of successive generations” (inadvertently proving his point with the expression men’s minds). “What at one time are their most effective expressions gradually become so worn with use that they cease to carry a definite meaning. The underlying ideas may be as valid as ever, but the words, even when they refer to problems that are still with us, no longer convey the same conviction.” This book is my attempt to restate the ideals of the Enlightenment in the language and concepts of the 21st century.

Steven Pinker. 2018. Enlightenment Now