Relational Modeling

Moral Compass

Moral Compass (Photo credit: psd)

If you’ve been reading me for any time at all, you know that I have slowly trying to integrate my understanding of economics with Haidt’s moral foundation theory. To recap, my interpretation of moral foundation theory is that there are a set of moral foundations from which everyone builds their own view of morality. Some of these moral foundations conflict with one another and we each must create a hierarchy where some moral precepts trump others. This is very similar to the economic condition of subjective valuation and suggests that the whole question of morality might be subject to the expansive view of economics known as praxeology.

Now I have some new understandings to lay over this: relational models theory. For a good introduction, read this article. In brief, there are multiple broad types of human relationships which we all experience. All kinds of mischief happens when people have different understandings of the nature of a particular relationship. (The article has a revealing story about Mitt Romney).

If you accept relational models theory, it adds a new level of complexity to the issues raised by moral foundations theory.

I’ve just started thinking about this, so I only have one conclusion to offer: be very very cautious in questioning people’s motives.


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