Read the passage and answer the following questions:
Psychopaths are sick, deranged, lacking in moral conscience. In other words, they’re nothing like you or me. This picture of psychopathy has dominated the thinking of both laypeople and researchers. It’s at once sensational and reassuring. But this is false. There’s no major ability that psychopaths lack altogether, and their deficits are often small and circumscribed. They certainly aren’t incapable of telling right from wrong, making good decisions or experiencing empathy for other people. Instead, they suffer from a host of more mundane problems - such as being overly goal-fixated, fearless and selfish. What’s more, perhaps ‘our’ reactions are closer to ‘theirs’ than we realise. Like psychopaths, we can dial our empathy up and down; and for all the praise we heap on empathy, a closer look at this emotion suggests that it’s nearer to a kind of self-preservation instinct than any ‘warm and fuzzy’ fellow-feeling.
When debating what’s wrong with psychopaths, researchers typically pitch two competing moral theories against one another. One approach, known as rationalism, holds that judging right and wrong is a matter of reason, rather than feeling. The claim that psychopaths don't show rationalism is plain wrong. Psychopaths are as logical as you and me - in fact, they outsmart us all the time, hence their everyday depiction as connivers and con artists. So the fact that they’re rational but still capable of inhuman acts shows that moral sensibility can’t be grounded in reason alone.
Psychopaths struggle with what philosophers call ‘reasons for actions’: considerations that underlie our decisions to act, such as the likelihood that what we’ll do will satisfy our goals and won’t come into conflict with other projects or aims. Psychopaths appear to be poor at integrating all the various factors that go into making good choices, and often have poor reasons for their actions. They usually attend almost exclusively to the task at hand, and ignore relevant contextual information - although when context doesn’t play a role, they do very well. Other studies have found that psychopaths have problems reversing their responses: when actions that were previously rewarded are now punished - or actions that were previously punished are rewarded - they have problems adjusting. Most people desist and find other ways to navigate their way through, psychopaths tend not to. This insensitivity extends to social threats, such as angry faces. If you show a person pictures that they find threatening, they startle much more easily in response to loud sounds. Psychopaths respond normally to direct threats, such as an image of the gaping jaw of a shark or a striking snake, but not to social threats, such as people in pain or distress.
These findings support the rationalist idea that psychopathic immorality comes down to some inability to reason well. But you might have noticed that psychopaths don’t experience fear as often, and in the same situations, as do ordinary people. Last time I looked, fear was an emotion. This brings us back into the camp of people who think that emotion, not reason, is central to ethics. Typically they focus on empathy.
 
Q. Which of the following could be the next line of discussion?
  • a)
    An analysis of a neuroscientific study establishing the presence of empathetic responses in psychopaths.
  • b)
    A discussion explicating how fear plays a dual role, that of emotion and reason, in restricting our decisions.
  • c)
    A discussion elaborating on the idea of empathetic concern and the emotional basis of morality. 
  • d)
    A detailed examination of the link between the propensity to be personally distressed and moral sensibility.
Correct answer is option 'C'. Can you explain this answer?

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Answers

EduRev CAT
Feb 02, 2022
In the passage, the author pitches two competing moral theories against one another. One approach, known as rationalism, links moral sensibility to reason, and towards the end, a second approach links morality to emotion. Also, the author points out that the people promulgating the second approach typically focus on empathy. Hence, the next line of discussion should ideally be centred on the idea of empathy/empathetic concern and how it fares as a basis for explaining moral sensibility.  
Comparing the options, option C captures this theme correctly. Option C is the answer.
The author establishes that psychopaths experience empathy in the first paragraph. (" Like psychopaths, we can dial our empathy up and down; "). Hence, option A does not add much value to the overall discussion.
The author does not expand upon the role of fear in the passage and does not provide hints that suggest fear might have a dual role, as stated in option B. Hence, option B can be eliminated.
Option D is too narrow. The second camp typically focuses on empathy. Moreover, the author does not explicitly highlight the importance of personal distress anywhere in the passage. Hence, option D can be eliminated as well.

In the passage, the author pitches two competing moral theories against one another. One approach, known as rationalism, links moral sensibility to reason, and towards the end, a second approach links morality to emotion. Also, the author points out that the people promulgating the second approach typically focus on empathy. Hence, the next line of discussion should ideally be centred on the idea of empathy/empathetic concern and how it fares as a basis for explaining moral sensibility. Comparing the options, option C captures this theme correctly. Option C is the answer.The author establishes that psychopaths experience empathy in the first paragraph. (" Like psychopaths, we can dial our empathy up and down; "). Hence, option A does not add much value to the overall discussion.The author does not expand upon the role of fear in the passage and does not provide hints that suggest fear might have a dual role, as stated in option B. Hence, option B can be eliminated.Option D is too narrow. The second camp typically focuses on empathy. Moreover, the author does not explicitly highlight the importance of personal distress anywhere in the passage. Hence, option D can be eliminated as well.
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In the passage, the author pitches two competing moral theories against one another. One approach, known as rationalism, links moral sensibility to reason, and towards the end, a second approach links morality to emotion. Also, the author points out that the people promulgating the second approach typically focus on empathy. Hence, the next line of discussion should ideally be centred on the idea of empathy/empathetic concern and how it fares as a basis for explaining moral sensibility. Comparing the options, option C captures this theme correctly. Option C is the answer.The author establishes that psychopaths experience empathy in the first paragraph. (" Like psychopaths, we can dial our empathy up and down; "). Hence, option A does not add much value to the overall discussion.The author does not expand upon the role of fear in the passage and does not provide hints that suggest fear might have a dual role, as stated in option B. Hence, option B can be eliminated.Option D is too narrow. The second camp typically focuses on empathy. Moreover, the author does not explicitly highlight the importance of personal distress anywhere in the passage. Hence, option D can be eliminated as well.