Fall 2018 Seminar Series - ISR 1430 or North Quad

Peter H. Ditto
Professor of Psychology & Social Behavior

University of California, Irvine

The Illusion of Public Reason
Monday April 09, 2018 (3:30 PM - 5:00 PM)

Morality is something we feel more so than think. This emerging view that judgments about right and wrong are grounded in and organized by affect and intuition has important implications for understanding political beliefs and behavior. In this talk, I present evidence that the differing moral intuitions of liberals and conservatives shape their reasoning in ways that lead each side to see their own political views as principled, logical, and effective and the other side’s views as hypocritical, illogical, and counterproductive. This tendency is found on both sides of the political aisle and helps account for the “alternative facts” endorsed by Red and Blue America. Motivated reasoning cloaks moral conflict in a veneer of public reason (Rawls, 1971) such that politicians and pundits make data-based arguments for preferred policy positions that are little more than moral justifications wrapped in factual clothing. I conclude that this fundamental tendency for people to confuse what they value with what they believe to be true is a key contributor to the corrosive political polarization that plagues contemporary American politics.

WEB: http://rcgd.isr.umich.edu/seminars/Winter2018/Bias is Bipartisan (in press PPS) Dist.pdf
http://rcgd.isr.umich.edu/seminars/Winter2018/Ditto & Liu 2016 Claremont Chapter Final.pdf
If you would like to meet with the speaker, please click here to contact Anna Massey.