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Should Cognitive Differences Research Be Forbidden?

Ulster Institute of Social Research, 28 Haycroft Gardens, London NW103BN, UK
Psych 2019, 1(1), 306-319; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych1010021
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 28 May 2019 / Accepted: 28 May 2019 / Published: 1 June 2019
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Abstract

Some authors have proposed that research on cognitive differences, including differences between ethnic and racial groups, needs to be prevented because it produces true knowledge that is dangerous and socially undesirable. From a consequentialist perspective, this contribution investigates the usually unstated assumptions about harms and benefits behind these proposals. The conclusion is that intelligence differences provide powerful explanations of many important real-world phenomena, and that denying their causal role requires the promotion of alternative false beliefs. Acting on these false beliefs almost invariably prevents the effective management of societal problems while creating new ones. The proper questions to ask are not about the nature of the research and the results it is expected to produce, but about whether prevailing value systems can turn truthful knowledge about cognitive differences into benign outcomes, whatever the truth may be. These value systems are the proper focus of action. Therefore, the proposal to suppress knowledge about cognitive ability differences must be based on the argument that people in modern societies will apply such knowledge in malicious rather than beneficial ways, either because of universal limitations of human nature or because of specific features of modern societies. View Full-Text
Keywords: intelligence; individual differences; race differences; values; philosophy intelligence; individual differences; race differences; values; philosophy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Meisenberg, G. Should Cognitive Differences Research Be Forbidden? Psych 2019, 1, 306-319.

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