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Teaching Ethics


published on September 4, 2015

Deborah S. Mower

Reflections on . . . A ‘Group’ Culture

The facility and rapidity with which we form groups—and that we often do so on the basis of manipulated and inconsequential features—highlights the fact that group identification, and hence in-group favoritism, is often arbitrary. I call the arbitrariness of in-group favoritism the “moral problem of group identity.” Focusing on helping behaviors, I argue that although the exposed arbitrariness of our motivations and actions is both surprising and discomforting, we can use knowledge of the moral problem of group identity as both a theoretical and a pedagogical tool.

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