The ALEF research group (Cluj-Napoca, Romania) announces an online talk by Constantin Vică (University of Bucharest) entitled „Livin’ la vida loca: Moral Outrage and Judgment Online”. The talk is part of the group’s regular seminar and takes place on Friday, FEBRUARY 11, 18.00 EET (Eastern European Time). Please write to alef.group.cluj@gmail.com or check our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ALEF-100692348488914) if you want to participate. For more information about ALEF, as well as the schedule for the seminar in the 2021-2022 winter semester, please visit https://sites.google.com/view/alefgroupcluj.
Here is the abstract of the talk:
Outrage, as we all may know, is an emotion, a pretty intense one. Moral outrage is the emotional process triggered by an action, a fact, an idea etc., produced by another human being or group, that violates a moral norm or expectancy, or contradicts strong ethical beliefs. By signaling the violation of moral norms, moral outrage motivates people to respond. This action of signaling often comprises a demand for compensation or punishment for alleged wrongdoing and norm trespassing. These types of reactions are normally praiseworthy. For example, we are justified to be outraged by human rights abuses, racist or sexist attitudes, or unfair actions against other people or even animals. Moral outrage brings social benefits by requesting wrongdoers to be held accountable and sending a social message that such behavior is morally unacceptable. This is what I call the ‘intellectual mode’ of moral outrage, a rationalized impetus for public action; that is, a catalyst for political activism and social change. However, moral outrage in the digital age can escalate and deepen social conflict or political polarization. Viral online outrage could dehumanize those who are perceived to belong to a rival or simply different social group, transforming in online shaming and stigmatization. Many of our digital experiences take place in ambiguous, even noxious, online environments in which moral autonomy and judgment are impaired by information overload and dis/misinformation, to name just a few issues. The risk of generating corrupt practices raises the questions of how virtuous the digital expression of moral outrage is, and how agonistic is just for the sake of quarrel and virtue signaling. I dubbed this the ‘internetual mode’. To provide a tentative answer to these questions firstly we need to outline the psychological and social mechanisms of moral outrage, comprising the intuitions and emotions driving it within networks, and what the digital realm affordances add to this. Secondly, I will draw attention to the tacit moral life of (online) information. Finally, we should assess under what circumstances online moral outrage fails to advance public moral discourse and when it is morally reliable.
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