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Moral Ethics August 12, 2006

Posted by federalist in Social Politics.

There are three principles for moral ethics innate to humans: Autonomy, community, and divinity. Modern liberals recognize only the first of these as a valid principle.

Haidt and Graham draft a fascinating paper for the academic journal Social Justice Research in which they further decompose these moral principles into “five psychological systems, each with its own evolutionary history that give rise to moral intuitions across cultures.”

Using this theory they bring remarkable clarity to the “culture war” raging in the United States.

How did it come to pass that in much of Europe, and in some parts of the United States, moral concerns have been restricted to issues related to harm/welfare/care and justice/rights/fairness?

They also issue an amusing call for tolerance and understanding to an academic community so liberal that “conservatism” is explicitly assumed to be a degenerate psychosis.

Even if social justice researchers never come to care about group cohesion, institutional integrity, or divinity as much as conservatives do, it will still be crucial for them to understand these cares, especially when they conflict with the virtues of compassion, justice, and equality that the social justice community values so dearly.

Social justice researchers might therefore benefit from stepping out of the “good versus evil” mindset that is often present in our conferences, our academic publications, and our private conversations.



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