I think a better way to frame this issue would be the following method.
For example, if I respond to your question of the solitary traveler with "You shouldn't do it because of biological concerns." Accept the answer and then ask, what would need to change in this situation for you to accept the killing of the traveler as moral?
I remember this method giving me ... (read more)
I find a similar strategy useful when I am trying to argue my point to a stubborn friend. I ask them, "What would I have to prove in order for you to change your mind?" If they answer "nothing" you know they are probably not truth-seekers.
Namely, the point of reversal of your moral decision is that it helps to identify what this particular moral position is really about. There are many factors to every decision, so it might help to try varying each of them, and finding other conditions that compensate for the variation.
For example, you wouldn't enter the happiness box if you suspected that information about it giving the true happiness is flawed, that it's some kind of lie or misunderstanding (on anyone's part), of which the situation of leaving your family on the outside is a special case... (read more)
I believe that you have an unexamined assumption in your post. Namely, can you have any effect on what your child believes?
A book by Judith Rich Harris called "The Nurture Assumption" makes the case that it is not parents that shape a child's attitudes and beliefs, but the child's peers. Parents impact on children tends to be primarily genetic and in the basics (no abuse, well fed and clothed, and choosing the general environment where the child is raised.) For a more detailed look on Harris's argument, see Malcolm Gladwell's article at http:/... (read more)
This "trying to believe" tactic is much more explicitly used in areas where there is randomness or unpredictability.
My business is finance. As a financial advisor, I am constantly "trying to believe" in things like regression to the mean, long term performance of the market vs. short term volatility, the efficacy of asset allocation.
But each day I am faced with evidence that causes me to doubt my rationally held beliefs about investing.
I think baseball players may have similar issues with batting. They may rationally know that it's ... (read more)
The haunted rationalist is probably an example of a physiological response tied to a shared cultural delusion. In strange places, when we are alone, we often can feel nervous or fearful. I remember feeling this way when I was alone in our church growing up, or when I was alone in our own house for the first time as a teenager.
There's probably a physiological reason for this. Perhaps we produce more adrenaline when left alone after a period of close cohabitation with others. This would be a useful evolutionary trait allowing us to be more aware of our s... (read more)
I don't think that the "effort" distinction is banal at all.
The "lying" scenario provides us with much more information about the "liar", than the "keeping secrets" scenario provides us about the "secret keeper". Let me go into this in more detail.
An individual assumes that others have mental states, but that individual has no direct access to those mental states. An individual can only infer mental states through the physical actions of another.
For now, let's assume that an individual who can more ac... (read more)