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An essay about stories and story-telling

22 Oct 2010 in international | questo post è lungo 280 parole

Tom Stafford

«When are you acting according to someone else's story? How can you write your own?», twitted Sara.

Tom is an experimental psychologist at the University of Sheffield.  He co-wrote the books Mind Hacks (O'Reilly 2004) and the Rough Guide Book of Brain Training (2010).

The Narrative Escape, as Tom wrote, is an essay about morality, psychology and stories.

«My argument in ‘The Narrative Escape’ begins by exploring Stanley Milgram’s famous experiments on obedience, looking at them as an example of moral decision making – particularly for that minority that choose to disobey in the experiment. A fascinating thing about these experiments is that although they tell us a lot about what makes people obey authority, they leave mysterious that quality that makes people resist tyrannical authority. I then go on to contrast this moral disobedience, with conventional psychological investigations of morality (for example the work of Lawrence Kohlberg). In using descriptions of moral dilemmas to ask people about their moral reasoning this research, I argue, misses something essential about real-world moral choices. This element is the ability to realise that you are acting according to someone else’s version of what is right and wrong, and to step outside of their definition of the situation. This is the “narrative escape” of the title. The essay also talks about dreams, stories and story-telling»

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*An essay by Tom Stafford *


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