Author(s): Tetlock PE
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Abstract Many people insist that their commitments to certain values (e.g. love, honor, justice) are absolute and inviolable - in effect, sacred. They treat the mere thought of trading off sacred values against secular ones (such as money) as transparently outrageous - in effect, taboo. Economists insist, however, that in a world of scarce resources, taboo trade-offs are unavoidable. Research shows that, although people do respond with moral outrage to taboo trade-offs, they often acquiesce when secular violations of sacred values are rhetorically reframed as routine or tragic trade-offs. The results reveal the peculiar character of moral boundaries on what is thinkable, alternately punitively rigid and forgivingly flexible.
This article was published in Trends Cogn Sci
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies