Moral psychology is a rapidly growing field
with two principle lineages. The main line began with Jean
Piaget and includes developmental psychologists who have
studied the acquisition of moral concepts and reasoning.
The alternative line began in the 1990s with a new synthesis
of evolutionary, neurological, and social-psychological
research in which the central phenomena are moral emotions
and intuitions. In this essay, I show how both of these
lines have been shaped by an older debate between two 19th
century narratives about modernity: one celebrating the
liberation of individuals, the other mourning the loss of
community and moral authority. I suggest that both lines of
moral psychology have limited themselves to the moral
domain prescribed by the liberation narrative, and so one
future step for moral psychology should be to study alternative
moral perspectives, particularly religious and politically
conservative ones in which morality is, in part,
about protecting groups, institutions, and souls.
morality, moral psychology, intuitionism
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Haidt, Jonathan. "Morality." Perspectives on Psychological Science 3.1 (2008): 65-72.
University of Virginia
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