Aug 8, 2006

emotion as the basis for moral judgment ?

highlights from an article I stumbled upon. I'm not sure I agree with their 1-1 pairing, probably because I don't see why we need to assume that a 1-1 correspondence should exist between the different ethics (or morality orientations) and conceptions of persons/others.

Rozin et al (1999) The CAD Triad Hypothesis.JPSP

Philosophers have long been divided as to whether human morality is built on our rationality (e.g., Kant, 1789/1959) or our emotionality (Hume, 1740/1969).
Psychological work on morality has generally focused on rationality and cognitive development (e.g., Piaget, 1932/1965; Kohlberg, 1969; Turiel, 1983).

Moral development was thought to be driven by the cognitive process of role taking as the child learns to respect a kind of moral logic (e.g., “If I were in her position I would not like this, therefore I should not do this”).

Clusters of Emotions

a) Shame, embarrassment, guilt

those 3 involve ongoing assessments of the moral worth and fit of the individual self within a community. These emotions motivate the individual to want to fit in, to behave in a culturally acceptable fashion, and to avoid harming people. They are self-focused and are sometimes referred to as the self-conscious emotions (Lewis, 1993).

Those reflect (or implement) the internalization of the social order in the individual (Freud, 1900/1976).

b) Contempt, Anger, Disgust

The second cluster of moral emotions reflects a similar concern for the integrity of the social order, but now turned outward to others. Contempt, anger, and disgust

Anger: has been studied as ‘a reaction to frustration or goal blockage”
Contempt is often linked to hierarchy and a vertical dimension of social evaluation.

Community, Autonomy, Divinity

Shweder and his colleagues proposed that there are three distinct ethics that cultures use to approach and resolve moral issues: the ethics of community, autonomy, and divinity.
Each ethic is based on a different conceptualization of the person:
• as an office-holder within a larger interdependent group–family–community (community),
• as an individual preference structure (autonomy),
• as a divine creature bearing a bit of God within (divinity).

Depending on which of these three views one holds of the person, a different set of moral goods and obligations becomes paramount.
Researchers carrying out ongoing work with this theory have found it useful for explaining moral differences across cultures and social classes (Haidt, Koller, & Dias, 1993) and for understanding such things as the culture wars (Hunter, 1991) that currently pit liberals and progressivists (whose morality is limited to the ethics of autonomy) against conservatives and orthodox (with a broader moral domain, including community and divinity; Jensen, 1997).