More Moral Foundations Theory

I’m still intrigued by  Moral Foundations Theory and, as predicted, there’s a fair bit of commenting going on in the blogosphere, mainly in terms of reviewing The Righteous Mind, Haidt’s book discussing the theory. I haven’t absorbed all of the comments yet, but two points made by reviewers strike me as important.

  1. The value of  Moral Foundations Theory is that it should force us to to view opposing views more seriously. Conservatives shouldn’t demonize liberals and vice-versa. Haidt himself, an avowed liberal, was apparently motivated upon learning that a conservative outlook was thoughtful and intended to improve people’s lives: it was just built on a different mix of moral foundations.
  2. There is some legitimate complaint about the specific methodology Haidt used to evaluate political outlooks in terms of moral foundations. Liberals, in particular, may have taken a bad rap by being classified as having low regard for sanctity. The methodological complaint is that, with a different set of questions, answers would have been different. Liberals may have a higher regard for sanctity than Haidt noted, but might apply the sanctity in a different domain such as environmentalism.

I’m still reading and studying, but I like where this is headed.


One response to this post.

  1. This books sounds intriguing. It sounds like the author is making the case for toning down partisan rhetoric and creating a more civil society. I’ll definitely have to check it out.


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