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Does Science Make You More Moral?

This question was addressed in a research article where subjects were “primed” – given a word or phrase – from science and then asked to weigh in on various ethical issues and dilemmas.  Those subjects which were primed by the science terms actually showed a statistically significant improvement on ethical decision making.  [Forwarded by Judith Dilts, associate dean, CSM.]  http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0057989

College Students Do The Right Thing

A group of students who found themselves in an untended store decided to do the right thing.  See: http://news.yahoo.com/video/4-ny-college-students-honest-052657464.html  [ Nick Langridge, senior vp university advancement, forwarded.]

Reflection not Reflex

Philip Zimbardo’s notoriety came from the Stanford Prison Experiments in which students who role played prison personnel treated students who role played prisoners so harshly that the experiment had to be stopped. It was actually Zimbardo’s wife an outsider who saw what was going on that forced the end of the experiment. Zimbardo is now designing ways to teach against the “bystander effect.” He calls his training a training for heroes.  According to the article, “The hero project’s curriculum teaches students to use a mental “pause button” so that they can avoid falling prey to automatic assumptions (“Someone else will take care of it”) and choose a more thoughtful response instead.” The MC’s pause button is the eight key questions, i.e. a little more content than simply stopping to think. Just stopping to think about anything — reflecting–  causes better thinking and acting. See:  http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2013/09/you-can-train-humans-be-good-people/6806/  [ Forwarded by Tom Adajian, philosophy.]

Deciding on Life and Death in Katrina (Real life parallels to the Hurricane Sharon “It’s Complicated” case)

In a book titled Five Days at Memorial doctor/author Sheri Fink tells how doctors at the hospital decided who to save first, who to save last, and who to assist in dying as the floodwaters from Katrina rose higher.  According to the author, doctors tend to be utilitarians (outcomes oriented) “and other considerations might not be taken into account, like justice or fairness..” [The book was mentioned on NPR and the link forwarded by Jenne Klotz, interim associate dean, library.]  http://www.npr.org/2013/09/10/220687231/during-katrina-memorial-doctors-chose-who-lived-who-died?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=

Speaking of Plagiarism

Richard Posner is a noted federal judge, jurisprudential scholar, economist, and prolific author. A number of years ago he wrote a brief article on plagiarism that asks the question, What is wrong with plagiarism? See:  http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/2002/04/posner.htm  He turned the article into a book–The Little Book of Plagiarism– which strikes similar themes, i.e. what is really wrong with plagiarism? Judge Posner  argues that plagiarism is a way of life in the law and in literature.  He claims that copyright infringement is a real problem because it amounts to taking property. However, plagiarism he classifies as a kind of fraud but it is a fraud that is problematic only in special circumstances.