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Moral system the foundation of every society

Origins[ edit ] Moral foundations initially arose as a reaction against the developmental rationalist theory of morality associated with Lawrence Kohlberg and Jean Piaget.

The Definition of Morality

Building on Piaget's work, Kohlberg argued that children's moral reasoning changed over time, and proposed an explanation through his six stages of moral development.

Kohlberg's work emphasized justice as the key concept in moral reasoning, seen as a primarily cognitive activity, and became the dominant approach to moral psychology, heavily influencing subsequent work. In contrast to the dominant theories of morality in psychology, the anthropologist Richard Shweder developed a set of theories emphasizing the cultural variability of moral judgments, but argued that different cultural forms of morality drew on "three distinct but coherent clusters of moral concerns", which he labeled as the ethics of autonomy, community, and divinity.

This work led Haidt to begin developing his social intuitionist approach to morality. This approach, which stood in sharp contrast to Kohlberg's rationalist work, suggested that "moral judgment is caused by quick moral intuitions" while moral reasoning simply serves as a post-hoc rationalization of already formed judgments. From their review, they suggested that all individuals possess four "intuitive ethics", stemming from the process of human evolution as responses to adaptive challenges.

Émile Durkheim (1858—1917)

They labelled these four ethics as suffering, hierarchy, reciprocity, and purity. According to Haidt and Joseph, each of the ethics formed a module, whose development was shaped by culture. They wrote that each module could "provide little more than flashes of affect when certain patterns are encountered in the social world", while a cultural learning process shaped each individual's response to these flashes. Morality diverges because different cultures utilize the four "building blocks" provided by the modules differently.

The five foundations[ edit ] Care: Political ideology[ edit ] Results of the Moral Foundations Questionnaire Researchers have found that people's sensitivities to the five moral foundations correlate with their political ideologies.

1. Descriptive definitions of “morality”

Using the Moral Foundations Questionnaire, Haidt and Graham found that liberals are most sensitive to the Care and Fairness foundations, while conservatives are equally sensitive to all five foundations.

Because members of two political camps are to a degree blind to one or more of the moral foundations of the others, they may perceive morally-driven words or behavior as having another basis—at best self-interested, at worst evil, and thus demonize one another. The three foundations emphasized more by conservatives Loyalty, Authority, Sanctity bind groups together for greater strength in intertribal competition while the other two foundations balance those tendencies with concern for individuals within the group.

With reduced sensitivity to the group moral foundations, progressives tend to promote a more universalist morality. Working-class Brazilian children were more likely to consider both taboo violations and infliction of harm to be morally wrong, and universally so.

Members of traditional, collectivist societies, like political conservatives, are more sensitive to violations of the community-related moral foundations. Adult members of so-called WEIRD western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic societies are the most individualisticand most likely to draw a distinction between harm-inflicting violations of morality and violations of convention.

In Korea and Sweden, the patterns were the same, with varying magnitudes.