SLIGHTLY BEYOND SKEPTICISM: Social Science and the Search for Morality by Leonard Doob

SLIGHTLY BEYOND SKEPTICISM: Social Science and the Search for Morality

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A sincere and concerned effort to present a coherent structure for the factors that can play a part in making judgments and decisions, and engaging in actions. Using the term ""morality"" in the sense of ethics, Doob, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Yale University, discusses the many variables involved in making decisions that are moral. He constructs eight basic questions that he asserts are the vital points to reflect upon in consideration of each judgment, and explicates each question by wading through numerous philosophical treatises and myriad studies of the social sciences. Doob examines many interesting aspects of thought integral to what often seem to be automatic responses to situations or issues, even as he raises visions of performing Hamlet's soliloquy throughout the waking hours of one's life. A nagging flaw inherent in his structure of the eight questions is apparent in his discussion of obedience to parental and governmental rules as moral matters, which sets up competing claims between loyalty to specific groups and to a more global humanity. Doob's discussion is weakened also by an extreme emphasis on the rational, as he almost ignores the role of unresolved emotions in decision making, and pays lip service only to the issues of racism, sexism, and poverty. Despite these problems, a valuable contribution toward raising awareness of the numerous factors involved in moral decision making on both personal and global issues.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
Publisher: Yale Univ. Press