Just Babies by Paul Bloom

Morality is such an interesting subject. Whether you are devoutly religious, staunchly atheist or somewhere in between, understanding the fundamentals of morality are enormous. Obviously, a religious person’s morality originates from a deity or sacred texts. But even then you begin to ask an even bigger question: is something moral because god said so or is that deity under that morality too. For an atheist the questions are just as complex. Is morality an encoded piece of our DNA? Did our morality evolve over the millions of years? How do we decipher morality today?

Just Babies by Paul Bloom is a quick introduction into the world of morality, ethics, or whatever you want to call it. In this short work, Bloom quickly surveys the many different studies concerning morality that have been done over the years particularly with babies and infants.

This is a good work if you are looking for something short and sweet. The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt is more in depth and interesting. I was hoping Just Babies would focus on more origins of good and evil like the book’s subtitle suggests. We seem to know that morality is part nature and nurture, but we still have a lot of questions concerning the nature. We obviously are born if some instinct in wrong and right but where does it come from? Why does human life find it so important to keep it going? Why are we so concerned that our genetics keep advancing?

I didn’t find the answers in the book, but maybe that is something I should not have expected.