Presidential Address:
Social Progress and the Just Choice

Schwartz, W. / Published 2015 / Presentation

Video Click here to view the full video of this presentation.
Slides Click here to view a pdf of supporting materials for this presentation.
Presenter Wynn Schwartz, Ph.D.
Date October 2, 2020
Abstract: Among the intrinsic motivations, the weighing of ethical and moral reason stands along side aesthetics as quintessentially humane attributes that mark personhood in a way self-interest and pleasure cannot. Further, ethical and moral perspectives guide the varied notions of justice and fairness central to any liberal and cosmopolitan view of social progress. What I’d like to explore is the problem of making a “just” choice or judgment: what facilitates or interferes. Since my concern is also with the idea of social justice and progress, I’ll need to examine the politics of negotiation and agreement. To explore these questions, I’ll modify certain conceptual tools from Descriptive Psychology, notably the Judgment Diagram, to map out and clarify some of the dilemmas of social justice and progress. Since actual social engagement involves personal and interpersonal conflict, ignorance, and self-deception, I’ll develop a model of negotiation that involves at least two actors with limited options given their values and the blind spots in their observer-critic characteristics. All this is complicated since social conflict has ideological, religious, class, race, age, gender and, as recently argued, species biases and interests that might not be reconcilable.