Ethics and Psychohistory

Psycho-history combines psychological factors with elements of social sciences studies to create a methodology for understanding motivations of important historical events. Isaac Asimov started with this real concept, included some ideas on mathematical statistics, and presented it in his science fiction as a technique to make predictions about how masses of people will behave in the future. In either form, there is a methodology for understanding how mass psychology affects history, either in the past or the future.

Ethics is the reasoning process used to decide what is the best path to follow or the best action to take. Ethics, when it is used well, provides the motivation (or moral force) that affects important historical events. And ethical analysis also involves the prediction of future paths and consequences associated with each path. In this sense, psycho-history is the study of ethics across large groups and large spans of time and could be used as Asimov wrote, to predict the motivational pathways of large masses of people. In an attempt to do this, it will become important to understand how the people mass analyze and determine their ethical decisions. Different moral codes can make a big difference in ethical determinations and ethical analysis can be based on a variety of priorities and weighting schemes. Two different schemes may produce two different solutions as “ethical actions”.

SEE ALSO:
Ethics as Prediction
The Logic of Ethics
General Applied Ethics

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