Provisionally Posted

Since I just learned it, the word of the day is yclept. If you don't feel like clicking on the links, it means called. An example of what I take to be proper use is, "One member of the Fugees is ycelpt Wyclef." Or former member, I don't think the Fugees exist any more.

Via Tyler Cowen, a semi-interesting quiz on moral intuitions and proper exercise of state power. My results were:


Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.13.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.00.

Your Universalising Factor is: 1.00.

What do these results mean?

Are you thinking straight about morality?

There was no inconsistency in the way that you responded to the questions in this activity. You see very little wrong in the actions depicted in these scenarios. And anyway you indicated that an act can be wrong even if it is entirely private and no one, not even the person doing the act, is harmed by it. So, in fact, had you thought that the acts described here were entirely wrong there would still be no inconsistency in your moral outlook. However, there is a tension in your responses in that you indicated that you do see at least minimal harm in some of the activities depicted here. Given that the actions described in these scenarios are private and it was specified as clearly as possible that they didn't involve harm, it isn't clear where you think the harm might lie. More about this below...

Assuming I understand correctly how they determined that I think acts can be wrong even if no-one is harmed by the act, I'd like to explain my reasoning. It seemed to me that some of the acts described are harmful to valuable societal institutions (the most obvious one being promise-keeping), and that the breakdown of those institutions is harmful in the long run, even if no one in the specific example is harmed.