Virtue and Knowledge

Contrary to postmodern relativists, the growth of human knowledge is a fact. But that fact does not make human beings any more likely to be virtuous, or rational. However fast and far science may advance the dilemmas that beset us, ethics will remain as problematic as before. Indeed, since the increase in knowledge enlarges the power to do evil, these dilemmas may be more formidable.

John Gray | Review: Mr. Brooks’s Miracle Elixir | The National Interest.

Knowledge and Morality

Review: Mr. Brooks’s Miracle Elixir | The National Interest.

From the review of David Brooks‘ Book The Social Animal, (which is now ensconced behind TNI’s paywall), comes this interesting tidbit:

A great deal in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology remains speculative and controversial. Where they seem reasonably well established, the findings of these new sciences do not always support Brooks’s conception of virtue. Recent inquiry—as well as centuries of literature—may suggest that we should favor “the idea that we have multiple selves over the idea that we have a single self”; but it is hard to square this plural view of selfhood with old-fashioned notions of character. Advancing knowledge may undermine simpleminded rationalism, but it also undercuts traditional morality. As to the overall impact that science may have on human values, no one knows.

Emphasis mine.

More knowledge is not more character, or better character. Hence, more knowledge does not make us better people per se, and is thus no substitute for traditional morality.

Morality and knowledge are complimentary, not substitutes.