Here is a common view on human development: In the beginning, children can only think about themselves. Slowly, they learn to care about others — or more cynically, they learn to pretend that they care about others. Variations of this view have been promoted by thinkers from Sigmund Freud to Richard Dawkins. This view has then been used to make predictable conclusions about ethics: human morality is either a social construct — fearfully internalized — or a clever tactic, used by selfish individuals to reap the benefits of teamwork.
But what evidence do we actually have about young children’s motivations? Do they genuinely not care about others?
To discuss these questions I have Dr Amrisha Vaishon the show. Vaish is a developmental psychologist at the University of Virginia, famous for her work on pro-social motivations in young children. We discuss issues such as:
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Sigmund Freud / Felix Waerneken / Michael Tomasello / Robert Hepach / Joan Grusec / Maayan Davidov / Daniel Batson / Audun Dahl / Celia Brownell / Martin Hoffman / Jan Engelman / Vikram Jaswhwal / Paul Bloom / Peter Singer / Richard Dawkins / Jean Decety / Scott Barry Kaufman / Simon Baron-Cohen
Altruism in Humans (by Daniel Batson) / The Last Manchu (Memoirs of Emperor Puyi) / Transcend (by Scott Barry Kaufman)
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