Steven Pinker Redefines Moral Relativism [2:53]


Psychologist Steven Pinker redefines moral relativism to be the two competing ways in which we can solve the problems society faces, namely morally and non-morally.  Pinker gives the example of a careless doctor.  We could, on the one hand, start punishing such carelessness – a moral solution.  Or, on the other, we could devise a safer system that wouldn’t be susceptible to such human errors – a non-moral fix.  Pinker muses that, while we still need MLK’s leading freedom marches, approaching more problems with non-moral solutions may result in better outcomes.

Discussion Questions

  • What two kinds of approaches to our social problems does Pinker discuss?
  • Do you think that we can solve most of the world’s issues with non-moral solutions, like Pinker argues?
  • What are some moral problems that we can problem fix with non-moral solutions?
  • What problems do we still need moral solutions for?

Keywords: morality, ethics, relativism, Pinker, Borlaug,


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