Moral life of babies | INFJ Forum

Moral life of babies

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by arbygil, May 13, 2010.

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  1. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    I was reading an article in the New York Times magazine detailing the possibility of infants having some sort of moral compass. If so, this could complete turn the idea of "innocence" on its head. Do babies have an innate sense of right and wrong? And if they do, do they actually know what should be "right" behavior without society telling them or without parental influence? Is it "true" morality or a naive worldview, based on a baby's perspective?

    It bares some thought. I found the article online below, as well as a link. Warning: Article is rather lengthy. But very interesting. What do you think of the study?

     
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  2. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

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    I heard a story on this with the researchers on National Public Radio! It comes as no surprise to me that babies have this ability. Overall I think it is a safe bet to never underestimate anything in the cosmos.
     
  3. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    When my first son was 10 months old, he would crawl into the bathroom where he new he wasn't supposed to be (if I left the door open.) If he didn't see us, he would crawl in there as quickly as possible. If he saw us, he would look at us and crawl in as slow as possible, like a sloth.

    I think he felt that if he moved slowly enough, we wouldn't notice.

    Yeah, they know 'supposed to' versus 'not supposed to', which is odd, because they have no theory of mind until 3.5 yrs old according to most research. In other words, they can't distinguish self and other mind. In this sense, I suppose I wonder why this article claims that children develop theory of mind by age 2, when all of the other research suggests that before age 3.5, they don't.

    This article doesn't even mention that this would be a controversial claim.

    Personally, I watched my son develop his theory of mind last month, so I am a firm believer that the older researchers got it right. I think something is being misinterpreted with the 2 year olds.
     
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    #3 Ecton, May 14, 2010
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  4. testing

    On Holiday

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    Babies and 2-year-olds are clever and bright, I have no doubt many of them develop theory of mind by that age, or earlier. They do have some concept of morality. Also, they are HUGE people-watchers, it's what they do; so it seems likely they are drawing conclusions as they watch the people around them.

    Also, there's that old researcher trick of "I'm going to hide the steak knife you wanted to use as a teething ring and make it disappear, so it is now gone forever!" that all the child psychologists claim works for little toddlers... bah. The whole "object permanence" concept develops much earlier in some children, I don't care what any researchers say.

    And my younger son was walking by 8.5 months, which was significantly earlier than average, so it seems likely that babies under the age of 1 could develop things like object permance and moral sense.
     
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