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6.9: Paul Bloom, for New York Times

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  • The Root of All Cruelty


    Are humans fundamentally good? Fundamentally bad? This is the ancient question that all philosophers have considered. Science is trying to help us explore this, as we continue to ask, “How could people participate in…” and then give examples of slavery, the Holocaust, genocide, torture in prisons, terrorism, etc. Why do people do this kind of thing? What happened in Abu Graib? How did so many Germans close their eyes to the destruction of millions of humans in gas chamber? What caused a rampage in Rwanda, with thousands slaughtered?

    As we research human behavior, not only do we learn about science, but we learn about more questions to address. Science and philosophy belong together. This way we learn more about What Is, so that we can ask about What Should Be.

    The Column

    “The Root of All Cruelty” by Paul Bloom, November 2017 for New York Times

    The Root of Cruelty

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