All posts tagged: psychology

Human Rights Promotion (22): What Hope is There For Persuasion?

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activism / human rights promotion

The ability to persuade other people is important for human rights in at least two different ways: How do we achieve respect for human rights? Since a lot of human rights violations are caused by ideas and opinions – for example by harmful moral judgments or political ideologies – respect for human rights depends at least in part on our ability to change minds, other people’s as well as our own. Why do we need […]

What is Freedom? (14): Do We Have Free Will?

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what is freedom

The evidence seems to say “no, there is no free will”. The notion of free will has been the object of criticism and even ridicule for as long as it exists, but it has recently become the target of a truly continuous and seeming devastating scientific onslaught. Study after study argues that we really don’t want what we do or do what we want, that we have no choice in a lot of things we do, and […]

The Causes of Human Rights Violations (52): Not Enough Bias

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causes of human rights violations / human rights violations

If I count correctly, I have blogged about at least 12 ways in which our psychological or mental biases can lead us to violate other people’s rights: spurious reasoning justifying our actions to ourselves post hoc the role distance plays in our regard for fellow human beings the notion that what comes first is also best a preference for the status quo the anchoring effect last place aversion learned helplessness the just world fallacy adaptive […]

What is Democracy? (65): A Political Decision Procedure Distorted by the Order Effect

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democracy / what is democracy?

(source) People’s choices are often sensitive to differences in the order in which the options appear. This is one among many psychological biases we all suffer from to some extent. For example, In the Eurovision song contest, for example, the first or later performers have more chance of winning than those appearing in the middle of the show. (source) Unsurprisingly, democracy is not immune from this bias. Here’s some evidence from the Irish democracy showing […]

Human Rights Promotion (11): Intentionality Bias Causing the Surge in Human Rights Talk

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human rights promotion / human rights violations / law / philosophy

First, there has indeed been a surge in human rights talk over the past decades and even centuries (see here for some evidence). This is particularly obvious for the period since the end of WWII. Human rights have become the lingua franca among the oppressed, the persecuted and the bleeding hearts worldwide, effectively replacing language based on benevolence, honor etc. (No insult intended, I’m a bleeding heart myself). There’s something about the notion of a […]