The Selfless Kidney Donor

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S1: So from a slightly.

S2: Something I learned recently is that vampire bats have a hell of a metabolism.

S3: They have to eat regularly.

S2: This is Michael McCullough, an evolutionary psychologist at UC San Diego.

S3: They go out every night and they hunt for a sleeping mammal and drink its blood and then come back well-fed and go to bed and then do the same thing the next night.

S2: The vampire bat nausea small incision into its victim and their saliva has this anticoagulated compound that keeps the blood from clotting so it can keep drinking until it’s fall.

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S3: But if you’re an unlucky vampire bat, maybe you’re young and you’re really inexperienced. You may come back with an empty stomach and three unlucky nights in a row, and you’re dead.

S2: If this were any other species that be tough luck, survival of the fittest. But vampire bats do something, well, nice for each other.

S3: Some of these bats will come back home at night. The well-fed ones and they will regurgitate some blood into the mouths of one of the hungry ones. I’m paying a small cost in order to provide a huge benefit to you, because if you went hungry, two more nights are gone.

S2: Sharing is something we see a lot of in the animal kingdom. Larger social carnivores will share with their pack, but they’re usually all related. And helping out our relatives is not all that puzzling. From an evolutionary point of view,

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S3: so you can think about this what we often called the genes I view. The gene doesn’t care whose gonads it’s in. All it cares is that it’s taking action in the world that increases the number of itself. They’re out there.

S2: If you help out family at some cost to yourself, you’re still increasing the odds that your genes will be passed on because your family shares your genes. And this is the way explanations of altruism have to work in evolution. When organisms do something beneficial for another, you have to ask what’s in it for them? Actually, what’s in it for their genes? That’s why the vampire bat is interesting. They live in colonies with family and non-family alike. And they’re just as likely to help non-family as family. And that is evolutionarily puzzling. Because why help the competition? What’s the catch? Because if you think like an evolutionary scientist, there’s always a catch to being Selfless in nature.

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S3: What they found is among unrelated individuals, the best predictor of whether I was going to feed you when you came back hungry is whether you had fed me in the past when I came back hungry.

S2: In fact, among vampire bats feeding those who you expect to feed you back is an even stronger drive than feeding your own family. If you have a family member who’s hungry, whether you share blood with them, is best predicted by whether they shared blood with you in the past, even with their cousins and aunts and uncles. Vampire bats know their priorities and they are certainly not to be nice and altruistic.

S4: From Slate, this is high five nation philosophy and story form recording from Vassar College. Here’s Barry Lam

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S2: more time and time again, in the plant and animal kingdom, the appearance of Selfless behavior can be shown to be self-interested behavior in disguise. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s an axiom of evolutionary theory that that’s what life has to be a truly Selfless just can’t outcompete the ultimately selfish. Well, today we’re going to talk to one evolutionary theorist, Michael McCullough, who thinks there is true selflessness, a trait that is emerging in Homo sapiens of all species that makes us act sometimes dramatically at great cost to benefits strangers, people who aren’t family who aren’t going to pay you back. Even people you will never meet. And he thinks this trait is advantageous and even out-compete selfish behavior. I listened to him patiently, but I kept thinking, I don’t think so. Humans are not by nature, Selfless and certainly not evolving to become more Selfless. I was so skeptical about Michael McCullough view that I called up two friends to set me straight. One was an extremely altruistic person who did an extremely altruistic thing. The other wrote a book about why he thinks human beings have evolved to know the moral truths. After all of the discussion, I concluded, I wasn’t being cynical enough. Humans haven’t evolved to be selfish or Selfless. We’ve evolved to be hypocrites.

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S1: Well, the toll for me was mainly psychological. I mean, I was, like, really scared. I had never had major surgery before.

S2: Penny Lane is a filmmaker with a badass name, and she’s also in a very small, very selective class of Americans. She’s one of about 200 people a year who donate a kidney for no other reason but to help someone.

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S1: So in August of 2019, I had an nephrectomy, which is a surgery to have one of your kidneys removed. I guess what made that unusual was that I I did the surgery and did the donation without anyone in mind. There was no particular person to whom I was donating. I was essentially giving it to whoever needed it. So stranger.

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S3: And this is actually quite surprising to people. I’m Mike McCullough. I’m a professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego. There are a lot more people who get in line to donate a kidney than can actually succeed in donating a kidney. This has to do with compatibility and health and a variety of other things.

S2: Altruistic kidney donation has been in the news recently. Well, sort of. And altruistic kidney donor decided to write about her experience on a Facebook post that had her story turned into another story by another writer and the subsequent lawsuits about who plagiarized whom and who has a right to that kidney donation story. That story went viral. It was called Bad Art Friend, and it was in the New York Times magazine. That viral story, in turn, has gotten a lot of people talking about whether there is real altruistic kidney donation or if people are more like vampire bats waiting for their return on investment.

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S1: It was a pretty big financial commitment, turned down a lot of work that I wasn’t sure I could do because I wasn’t sure how long the recovery would be. And then I realized also that if you’re having major surgery, the hospital will require you to have like a person, a caretaker type person being single, not being close with my family. I had to pick somebody amongst my friend group and say, like, Hey, would you be willing to, you know, be my medical caregiver? And I don’t really know what I’m asking you for. I just like have to have that in order to do this. That’s got to be hard. It was really, I mean, honestly, I’m glad that you understand that because it was and it was. It’s hard to kind of like explain to people who don’t understand why that’s hard. The first person I asked had to leave Town for a job. Second person, I asked, also took a job that conflicted. So I ended up having to ask multiple times and each time just feeling more and more awful and like, miserable. Like, There’s something wrong with my life. You’re supposed to just like, have a person who is this person, you know, like it was really, what are the only times I ever felt like I’d rather be in a shitty marriage than no marriage? Because at least I’d have somebody whose job. This was just to sort of be there while I come home from surgery and make sure I don’t hurt myself or something.

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S2: You had a serious fear of pain. You had months of lost wages and you had all this social awkwardness. The may have even made you feel bad about yourself. So what convinced you to do this?

S1: You know, nothing convinced me because I didn’t need any convincing. And I think this is actually pretty common of altruistic kidney donation or Good Samaritan kidney donation.

S3: When we go ask these people, you know, why did you do that? They don’t say, Well, you know, maybe I’ll need a kidney down the road. I’ve put my name in the book and I’ll be moved up preferentially or, you know, my kid will get preference. It doesn’t work that way.

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S2: In fact, all of the standard evolutionary explanations for the appearance of altruistic behavior in animals don’t apply to many of the things human beings do that appear altruistic, according to McCullough. He views a certain kind of human altruism to be a uniquely emerging property of our species. It’s the argument of his book.

S3: My book is called The Kindness of Strangers How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code.

S2: The new moral code is a code we’re doing. Something for others is not linked to the drive to help family and not linked to the drive for reciprocity. It isn’t even linked to the drive to help members of your own community or that community is needed for your own survival. A kind of indirect reciprocity. Kidney donation to strangers is an exemplar of this new moral code.

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S1: There’s about 100000 people sitting on a waiting list, dying who are living on dialysis. It won’t keep you alive forever, and it’s it’s a very difficult experience and it keeps you really locked at home. In many ways. You’re not really able to live a full life if you’re on dialysis, because typically that means you have to be strapped to this machine. You know, two or three days a week. Essentially, for almost all of those people, a donor kidney would get them off dialysis and give them a much better quality of life for probably 15 to 20 years if you’re healthy. If you have normal kidney function, like most of us do, you can live with one kidney exactly the same as you did before you had one kidney removed, and that the surgery is pretty much you’re out of the hospital and, you know, less than two days. The scars are really minimal. Yeah, there’s not really any heavy duty, long term consequences.

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S3: So they talk about reasons rather than I just couldn’t help myself. I felt like I was giving to my mother or my aunt. They engaged in a kind of reasoning that that got them there.

S2: The kind of moral reasoning exhibited by Penny is the trait McCullough thinks evolution needs to explain. It’s the kind of emerging moral code in Penny case, it’s the principle of comparable sacrifice. It says that if you can prevent something very bad from happening without sacrificing something comparable, you should do it. It’d be wrong not to. This little principle explains everything from why you need to call 9-1-1 if you witness a fire to why you should save a drowning child. But it’s also completely radical. It doesn’t say the bad thing has to be happening to you or needs to affect you at all. And it doesn’t say that the bad thing has to happen anywhere near you. It could be on the other side of the world affecting people you’ll never meet. As long as you’re in a position to stop it without sacrificing something of comparable significance, you have to do it. So the math just adds up for Penny someone dying from renal failure. The loss of quality of life. That’s the bad. Losing a single kidney. The psychological toll that that takes on Penny. That’s the sacrifice she’s making. Is it comparable?

S1: It’s like comparing a paper cut to like a mortal wound, like what I went through, it was just so nothing compared to what someone goes through in late stage renal failure. It’s like a really hard life, whereas mine is a great life with a little teeny bit of suffering, added. So I feel like most things in your life when you’re trying to do good, you struggle with whether you really are doing good, you’re like, Well, what if I’m enabling this person? I’m trying to help or whatever, but this just seems so easy. This was like a no brainer. This was like, This cannot be bad. Like, this cannot be a bad call. This is a good call. Even if I died, I felt that it was like a good call. You know, I woke up sobbing. I was so relieved to have be over with. And then I waited for the overwhelming wave of self-love or something to come that never really came. So I felt proud, and I felt happy for the other person, you know, in the abstract. And that was it. I was kind of a non-event in my life in many ways. It was like no big deal.

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S2: How soon after your donation do they get it? Oh, the same day

S1: we were definitely on the same recovery ward. I just don’t know who they were.

S2: Did they contact you now?

S1: Oh, okay. Yeah, it’s been now. What a year and a half. So I’m pretty sure they won’t.

S2: It’s long been established in moral philosophy that getting some kind of emotional satisfaction, however small from doing a moral act, does not mean a person did that act in order to get that emotional satisfaction? There are a lot better ways to get a minor bit of pride in your life than having a surgeon cut out an organ of yours. The moral reasons for an action like pennies are very real and motivating. They’re the same kinds of reasons that motivate about 200 other people annually in the U.S.. And besides altruistic kidney donation, the other major appearance of a distinctively human form of altruism for Michael McCullough is taxing and spending the

S3: modern welfare state, where about a quarter of GDP goes to, you know, into this big pot and then we share out shares, ideally according to people’s needs. If you look at how we got to those kind of places, it wasn’t through elites saying, really, we all are kin or this is what you do when you want to be paid back directly. Instead, what they’ve offered as reasons, mostly prudential reasons, at least initially, that will avoid worse things if we help to prop these people up and help them to get self-sufficient. What I see in history is the results of positive argumentation about what should we do in order to pursue the course of action that’s going to be best for us.

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S2: McCullough thesis is that certain very prevalent forms of moral reasoning in humans today are not compatible with thinking that we’ve evolved to be altruistic in the way other animals are. If we had, we’d be asking in all cases, what’s in it for my reproduction, my future and my genes? Instead, we reason about what will contribute to the greatest overall good or what is the thing that I can. At the same time will to be universal law. These are the central tenets of post enlightenment moral philosophy where the moral code is impartial makes no reference to your kin or who will pay you back. McCullough view is that modern, altruistic human behavior is the result of the evolution of human reasoning, doing math, doing logic calculations of costs and benefits.

S3: I actually think that our capacity for reasoning is in itself a direct product of natural selection’s action on the human mind. I think we have adaptations for reasoning in the same way that we have adaptations to, you know, look after our kids and not let our kids walk off of cliffs or to take good care of our friends and our, you know, our neighbors and people who can pay us back. I think reasoning is every bit as naturally selected as any of those things. The function of reason, you know, in its natural habitat is similar to the kind of function I think it’s serving in generating regard for strangers. We’ve always needed to be right about certain things. Which way did the deer go? You know, is it going to rain in the next two weeks? If we go over here, are we going to find something better to eat? Being right? You know, just being objectively right is better than being objectively wrong, and we evolved mechanisms that allow us to pursue those correct ends.

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S2: Step one to a new moral code install in an animal. Superior reasoning abilities that allow them to be better than other animals at figuring out what is true. Step two have that reasoning capacity see new moral truths

S3: we have through history found reasons to care that really are ethical insights that are completely distinct from self-interest. The very notion that individuals have a fundamental dignity that they can’t be alienated from. I’m sure you recognize that it can’t. That’s an insight that had traction among a lot of people. That’s an idea that you see echo all the way through the 19th century as people try to build up concepts for what the good society looks like. It’s not really self-interested unless you think ending up on the right side of ethics as being a self-interested reason. I think we’re all entitled to dignity. It doesn’t matter what your cultural group is or what language you speak or what you wear. That’s an idea. It’s part of the causal stream that leads from the human mind to the welfare state.

S2: The picture that McCullough is painting is of natural selection, resulting in two mechanisms that drive human altruism. One we share with all other species. We have self preserving and self propagating instincts that say, when you help others, make sure there’s something in it for your genes. The other is the distinctively human capacity of reasoning that is good at figuring out the truth and which has figured out that the moral truth is completely impartial. Strangers, even non-human animals matter in their own right, and we ought to do things for their own sake. This is a picture of a changing human nature where one evolved trait is beginning to overcome the other. But evolution is not instantaneous. It involves populations with one trait competing against populations with the other. McCullough view raises the question, can a truly altruistic ape really out-compete a selfish one? Does your view stick its neck out and make a kind of prediction, which is that if we had a natural experiment where you have a society that’s more nepotistic, that’s more selfish, that does things only on the basis of reciprocity, these other kinds of mechanisms that you’ve rejected as explaining kindness. And then you pair that with a society that operates according to principles of reasons that recognize in all of these advancements in moral philosophy and and so forth that you’re willing to bet that one is going to outcompete the other. Do you understand the question now?

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S3: Yeah, I do think that the more generous society that’s guiding its concern for others on the basis of things besides nepotism and what have you done for me lately probably will outcompete that more selfish society. And the reason is because what we’ve learned about what makes a society competitive, what makes a society competitive is when everyone is capable of meeting their basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, dignity. One of the intuitions that we have that’s just wrong is that society is better off by having this sort of caste of workers that are just barely meeting their daily needs. Somehow, that’s going to motivate them to work really harder. What we know from history is when we meet the needs of those individuals, the society is commercially more competitive. We even know from a variety of sort of anecdotes about war that you’re probably more competitive in combat. Taking a more kindly approach to strangers is in the society’s best interest.

S2: Michael McCullough book is the Kindness of Strangers How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code. You can find a link to it from our show page for this episode at Hyphenation dot org.

S4: We will return to the rest of hyphenation after these messages.

S2: Before we continue, a little bit of business of interest to listeners of hyphenation, the Rutgers Center for Philosophy of Religion is announcing a summer seminar called God and the Space-Time Manifold, and they’re looking for applicants. The seminar will take place June 13th through 24th in 2022 and will be led by professors Dean Zimmerman, Brian Left Ho and Katherine Rogers. The primary question of the seminar is how do scientific theories about the nature of time fit with different theological conceptions of God’s relationship to the universe? Over 11 days in June 12, philosophers of science and religion will be holding sessions at Rutgers in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The seminar is open to professional philosophers and grad students in philosophy. To find out more and how to apply, visit Garden Time Dot Rutgers Dot Edu. That’s God and time dot Rutgers Dot Edu. You can find a link to it, as well as how to contact the organizers in our show notes. The seminar is made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Now back to the show. My view of human nature is far more pessimistic than McCullough. But I have to make a concession. It is human reasoning and intelligence that figured out how best to help people dying from kidney failure. You just find a matching donor who can live a long and fulfilling life with just one kidney, you take their kidney and implanted. Human reasoning explains how we came to know this truth. But knowing a truth through good reasoning isn’t the same as doing anything about it. Penny Lane did something about it, and so do 200 other people a year in the U.S.. Which means 300 million minus 200 who do not. Those 300 million minus 200 must have their reasons for not giving.

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S1: It’s a very strange feeling when Penny

S2: Lane filmmaker, when

S1: you have a very strong moral intuition that is not legible to other people. I just didn’t understand why everybody didn’t have the same exact moral intuition as me. The most common experience would be that I would somehow in some kind of conversation, this would come up that I had this plan that I was like, going to do this. The person that I was speaking to would. Immediately generate a list of reasons why they couldn’t do it,

S2: why they couldn’t do it.

S1: Yeah, without being asked. You know, it wasn’t like, I wasn’t like, Why aren’t you doing this? You know,

S2: I say so. So they weren’t generating lists of why? Why you shouldn’t do it now. They were generally was about why they couldn’t do

S1: it sort of is if like it was like a moral challenge that I was presenting to them, that they couldn’t

S2: handle well. What people say

S1: well, people would say very commonly they’d say, Well, what if my kid needs one? You know, again, I wouldn’t typically argue with somebody, but if I was feeling argumentative, I might say, like, Well, if kidney disease doesn’t run in your family, it’s pretty unlikely that your kid’s going to need a kidney. Also, if they do need a kidney and everyone was willing to give a kidney to anyone in need, then it wouldn’t really be an issue at all. And then what if you what if it’s a bad person? I would not.

S2: I’m sorry. I don’t know why that elicited that reaction to it.

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S1: And it’s funny because it’s because it’s like it’s an insane thing to say. That’s right.

S2: The first thing that would occur to someone is what if I give my kidney to a bad person opens up.

S1: A lot comes up more than you’d expect, right? And I can’t do a lot with that one. But after I’d heard it a few times, there was one person that just kind of it was irritating me a little bit, you know? And then so when they said it, I said, Oh, and you don’t, you have three children, and they said, yes, and I was like, Did you worry that maybe the children that you had might be bad people because they could be like me? There’s there’s no logic there. You know,

S2: this is an reasoning. It’s rationalizing and it’s rationalizing something that doesn’t need to be rationalized as a generic truth. People aren’t radically altruistic. They won’t make a serious sacrifice when there’s nothing in it for them and nothing in it for their family. And they’ll say anything they have to say to feel OK about not being altruistic when faced with someone whose reasons for altruism are unassailable. The problem I have with Michael McCullough view, as hopeful as it is, is that I think human altruism is not a thing. There is no trait for evolution to explain.

S5: I share the skepticism, and I think there are a bunch of things to say.

S2: Kieran Setiya is a philosopher at MIT and also an old friend of the show. I called Kieran because I wanted him to talk me out of my cynicism about human nature. Kieran wrote a book some years ago called Knowing Right from Wrong, which argued that humans, by their nature in all of its rich evolutionary history, are designed to know right from wrong. If anyone could talk me out of my view of the inherent selfishness of human motivations, it was Kieran. I actually am very sympathetic to the idea that we have. Sufficient moral reasons to do a lot of the very demanding things that some of the philosophers out there say, we have moral reasons to do. To help strangers, complete strangers, maybe even people that might be hostile to us in some way. I’m not a skeptic about that. I’m a skeptic about whether or not evolution or fitness explanations are the kind of things that explain why some human beings have an appreciation for these moral reasons. And the reason I’m skeptical about that is I No. One. We’re talking about outliers right now, you’re talking about 200 hundred people in the country. Yeah, or a thousand people in the world look at foreign aid. You know, foreign aid is like, oh, one percent something.

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S5: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

S2: How do you explain through a fitness explanation and evolutionary biology, something that’s clearly a kind of outlier behavior? And if there is an appreciation of the moral reasons, so much to be moved by it. Why is the evolution the thing that’s going to give you an explanation for that kind of moral knowledge or moral motivation? I mean,

S5: the first thing to say is, yeah, you would think if what you’re trying to do is give an evolutionary explanation. We are not talking about cultural evolution, but evolution by natural selection. You’ve got to explain why we are a certain way, and it’s only going to make sense to do that if we are that way. If we are trying to explain why human beings in general have a proclivity to engage in dramatic, altruistic sacrifice of their own interests, you’re trying to explain something that isn’t true. And so I just think you’re not going to be on a good track if you’re trying to explain is how it’s possible as it were, how any human beings have that trait. Maybe there’s some kind of thought. Well, I want to explain how it is that this psychological possibility wasn’t so aggressively selected against that. No human beings exhibit it. It seems like the plasticity of human behavior is so great that we shouldn’t be at all surprised that you know that David Blaine wants to stand on a plinth for 48 hours and that some people collect coins. It shouldn’t be that surprising that among the bizarre motivational profiles are some that are very, very selfish and some that are very, very altruistic. There’s just a lot of human variation, so I think I share the thought that something is sort of misfiring about that. Particular kind of evolutionary explanation,

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S2: but Kieran does think that I was making an important mistake. I was assuming all along that there’s no real difference between being a species that knows that donating a kidney to a stranger is the right thing to do and being a species that actually donates their kidneys to needy strangers. What I thought was that not only aren’t humans altruistic, they also don’t have altruistic beliefs values. That’s too cynical. It’s probably wrong. Human beings do have altruistic values, and Michael McCullough is evolutionary explanation as to why might very well be right.

S5: There’s a kind of distinction you might want to make between explaining the evolution of altruistic motivation. And then there’s explaining the evolution of altruistic values. Those are not the same in some ways. Explaining why we have altruistic values might be a bit easier. The sort of two broadly different ways of thinking about ethical values. There’s the agent based way where the thought is. The primary function of values is to guide my behavior. The home of ethical reflection is me figuring out what to do. It’s a broadly sort of contient thought, but it doesn’t have to be Kantian. There’s also this idea that, like the home of ethical reflection, is evaluating other people. The point of it is to assess who we should associate with, and that’s broadly how Hume thinks about ethics. I inclined to the spec tutorial if we’re trying to explain why we have altruistic values, why we make ethical judgments that praise altruism, and why not try and explain how people are motivated to be altruistic, which can explain why people admire altruism? That’s in a way much easier. If you go around praising people who are altruistic and saying my values of altruism, I love altruistic people. They’re the best. You’re good if you’re altruistic. What you’re doing is encouraging people to associate with altruistic people trying to track who’s altruistic so you can associate with them and trying to give them some kind of reward for being altruistic. That’s all beneficial to you. So it’s much less mysterious why we would go around praising altruistic people as morally good than why those altruistic people are altruistic in the first place. I say

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S2: I say, OK, I

S5: think it’s much less mysterious to think, Well, if it’s not about what I have to do, it’s about what kind of behaviors I approve of what I think of as praiseworthy and admirable. What kind of you know, again, if the function of moral judgment or ethical judgment is to tell me, who should I associate with? Who’s a good person to be around the thought, well, the people who give you a kidney? Those are good people to be around. It seems like not. No, not so surprising that human beings might converge on that idea. There’s convergence on the idea, for instance, that you should hang around with people who are good people, people who give you a kidney if you needed it and might even give a kidney to a stranger. But we’re not actually mode of sort of evolved to be generally motivated to do that. And so there’s a kind of just not just an individual, but sort of systemic discrepancy between what we think a good human being is like and what we as human beings are actually like. But I kind of think that is the human predicament.

S2: This is very insightful here, I mean, what you are drawing out is that you have an account of the evolution of knowing right from wrong. And this guy is trying to give an account of human beings being

S5: being good, doing the right thing. Yeah, and

S2: what I’ve been seriously troubled with is that’s not a phenomenon that you can explain because it’s not true. And but and you’re saying, but the knowing part can be true. Yeah, we

S5: may know that we’re not the way we should be. The human beings are just not the way we, as human beings can see good human beings would be.

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S2: It makes total sense. You might even say it follows for some reason. Have the values judge others in a way that most benefits you? And what benefits you? Is to be surrounded by altruistic people. Well, at the same time, not being altruistic yourself. Of course, we evolve this trait, have values for other people that they make sacrifices on behalf of strangers so that you’re likely to benefit. But you yourself don’t be motivated by those values because you have to pass on your own genes and. Everything fits together now. Hypocrisy is the fittest trait for the selfish eight. That’s how I see it. But that’s not how Kieran sees it.

S5: The sense of human nature that’s in play in these kinds of discussions I think of as changeable is not fixed once and for all. So if you think about the essence of the human species, it might well be that if you are trying to describe human nature and you are looking at our hunter gatherer ancestors, your description will be quite different. They lived in small groups. They had a wholly different way of interacting with each other. Human beings just were different then, and it may be that now human nature in the sense it’s relevant to ethics is just different. I mention that because I think there’s room for a kind of optimism as well as a pessimism here. The pessimism is human beings have evolved to see that altruism is good, but not to be sufficiently altruistic. That’s the pessimistic thought the optimistic thought was, but we can change. So if human beings change enough to become more altruistic. It may be that our nature, our motivational nature, will itself be different in 100 years or 200 years, or however long from the way it is now. And we will sort of resolve this incongruence between what we’re actually motivated to do and what we think it will be good for people to be motivated to do. So that’s the optimistic side of the pessimistic sense that we just don’t live up to our own ethical beliefs.

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S2: Kieran Setiya is an optimistic philosopher at MIT, and he’s the host of the podcast. Five Questions Where he asks philosophers five questions about themselves. It’s a great podcast. You can find it on your favorite podcast. Your. Penny Lane is by far a better person than I will ever be. Her latest film is listening to Kenny G, and it’s available on HBO Max starting on December 2nd. She’s also working on a film about her kidney donating experiences. It’s called Confessions of a Good Samaritan.

S4: Hi Fi Nation is written, produced and edited by Barry Lam, associate professor and chair of philosophy at Vassar College. Executive producer of Slate Podcast is Alicia Montgomery, editorial director for Slate Podcast is Gabriel Roth, senior managing producer for Slate Podcast. Is June Thomas, managing producer for Slate Podcast is Asha Saluja, editor of Slate Blesses Me Child To. Production assistance this season provided by Jake Johnson, visit Hi-Fi Nation dot org for complete transcript. Show notes and reading list for every episode that AHIP Nation scored. Follow High Buy Nation on Facebook and Twitter and at the website for updates on stories and ideas.