Though the title of the piece should really be "the end of moral philosophy," though even then the research he cites does not quite establish that point. It is true that Haidt's research (among others) suggests, as Brooks puts it, that moral judgments often involve "rapid intuitive decisions and involve the emotion-processing parts of the brain" or, as Haidt himself puts it (quoted by Brooks), “The emotions are, in fact, in charge of the temple of morality, and ... moral reasoning is really just a servant masquerading as a high priest.” (Once again, empirical psychology catches up to Nietzsche!) Even Haidt does not claim, however, that reasoning never affects moral judgment, as Brooks eventually mentions. And if reasoning sometime affects moral judgment (surely it sometimes does!), then that might be a reason to do moral philosophy, rather than end it. (And, of course, there are other reasons to do moral philosophy.)
Brooks then goes off on some evolutionary psychology fantasies about the origins of our moral emotions, with a nod, as it were, to Sober & Wilson on the evolution of altruism. But he eventually gets back to his main theme, to which the evolutionary speculations are irrelevant:
The rise and now dominance of this emotional approach to morality is an epochal change. It challenges all sorts of traditions. It challenges the bookish way philosophy is conceived by most people. It challenges the Talmudic tradition, with its hyper-rational scrutiny of texts. It challenges the new atheists, who see themselves involved in a war of reason against faith and who have an unwarranted faith in the power of pure reason and in the purity of their own reasoning.
It's certainly not an "epochal change," given that in various forms something like an "emotional approach to morality" has been a mainstay of moral philosophy since at least Hume. (Haidt, who is often quite confused about philosophical matters, recognizes that.) But it is nice to have the NY Times declare one side of the debate the dominant one of our 'epoch'! The "bookish way of philosophy" is too ambiguous a category to assess: the "emotional approach" may challenge overly rationalist approaches to ethics, like the Kantian, but that is not a specific indictment of books! And nothing in Haidt's research impugns reason per se, just so-called "practical reason," "a special kind of reason," as Nietzsche derisively remarks, "in which one need not bother about reason." Nietzsche is, indeed, a skeptic about the "purity" of motivation of even theoretical reasoning, but nothing in Haidt's research supports that conclusion or suggests that the "new atheists" aren't wholly correct that theoretical reason lends no support to religion.
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