Would You Kill Baby Hitler?
Would you kill a baby if you knew he would grow up to be Hitler? Psychologist and author Kevin Dutton explores the mindset of psychopaths as a window into this fascinating ethical question.
Why do cold-hearted psychopaths make good surgeons and world leaders?
According to Kevin Dutton, author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, psychopaths are well-equipped to deal with all kinds of nasty crises. Sending thousands of troops to war, for instance, is not something that many people can easily carry on their conscience, Dutton points out. Psychopaths tend to simply "be people who are able to get the job done, who are less morally squeamish."
So how does this apply to the moral conundrums of daily life?
Dutton explains the so-called trolley problem, a test in which the responses of psychopaths differ greatly from that of normal people.
If psychopaths are utilitarians at heart, how doers that affect their judgment in other scenarios. To answer that question, Dutton presents a number of variations on the trolley problem in the video below.
For instance, imagine that you are a transplant surgeon who had the ability to save many lives by taking one. Or, for that matter, would you kill a baby if you knew he would grow up to be Hitler? Dutton lays out these scenarios here:
Don't underestimate the power of play when it comes to problem-solving.
- As we get older, the work we consistently do builds "rivers of thinking." These give us a rich knowledge of a certain kind of area.
- The problem with this, however, is that as those patterns get deeper, we get locked into them. When this happens it becomes a challenge to think differently — to break from the past and generate new ideas.
- How do we get out of this rut? One way is to bring play and game mechanics into workshops. When we approach problem-solving from a perspective of fun, we lose our fear of failure, allowing us to think boldly and overcome built patterns.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
The surprising results come from a new GLAAD survey.
- The survey found that 18- to 34-year-old non-LGBTQ Americans reported feeling less comfortable around LGBTQ people in a variety of hypothetical situations.
- The attitudes of older non-LGBTQ Americans have remained basically constant over the past few years.
- Overall, about 80 percent of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ people.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.