I give a brief overview of an evolutionary approach to moral psychology in which people are mostly concerned about appearances and reputation, rather than actually doing the right thing. I explain why this complex psychology makes it very difficult to teach ethics to anyone. Yet an understanding of the origins and mechanisms of moral cognition open the way for us to do (and teach) “ethical systems design,” a way of working with human nature and setting up environments that lead to better ethical behavior. Above and beyond offering a set of moral “nudges” to individuals, can we help companies to create whole systems in which ethical behavior is valued, supported, and enacted?


Short interview about the presentation:

Published On: October 7, 2013


  • John Jacob Lyons says:

    I’ve read ‘The Righteous Mind’ and ‘The Happiness Hypothesis’ and I appreciate the elephant/ rider metaphor. I have a vague notion of what you mean by ‘the path’ as an addendum to the metaphor but would appreciate your own comments on its meaning and how it would relate to a business career.

  • Jurij Fedorov says:

    Great video. Interesting subject. In hunter-gatherer societies people seem to have rules and values and some really weird and specific moral rules too that do not make much sense in some instances. But the group decides what is right and what is wrong. Nature is the god that makes the rules and the group is part of nature. They don’t have infallible leaders as we have in our agricultural society. Only force can change the rules that the group decides on based on intuition and experience. This force is not easy to acquire as a h/g where people are very equal and typically have the same means.

    Would it be too much to ask for if I wanted a website where all these videos where collected. I want a list with explanations for every video. That would be awesome!

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