Moral Foundations Theory: The Pragmatic Validity of Moral Pluralism

Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Forthcoming

64 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2012  

Jesse Graham

University of Southern California

Jonathan Haidt

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Sena Koleva

University of California, Irvine - School of Social Ecology; New York University; California State University Los Angeles

Matt Motyl

University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Illinois at Chicago

Ravi Iyer

University of Southern California

Sean P. Wojcik

University of California, Irvine

Peter H. Ditto

University of California, Irvine

Date Written: November 28, 2012

Abstract

Where does morality come from? Why are moral judgments often so similar across cultures, yet sometimes so variable? Is morality one thing, or many? Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) was created to answer these questions. In this chapter we describe the origins, assumptions, and current conceptualization of the theory, and detail the empirical findings that MFT has made possible, both within social psychology and beyond. Looking toward the future, we embrace several critiques of the theory, and specify five criteria for determining what should be considered a foundation of human morality. Finally, we suggest a variety of future directions for MFT and for moral psychology.

Keywords: morality, moral foundations, pluralism, social psychology, moral judgments, moral psychology

Suggested Citation

Graham, Jesse and Haidt, Jonathan and Koleva, Sena and Motyl, Matt and Iyer, Ravi and Wojcik, Sean P. and Ditto, Peter H., Moral Foundations Theory: The Pragmatic Validity of Moral Pluralism (November 28, 2012). Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2184440

Jesse Graham (Contact Author)

University of Southern California ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061
United States
2137409535 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.usc.edu/grahamlab

Jonathan Haidt

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

NYU-Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Spassena Koleva

University of California, Irvine - School of Social Ecology ( email )

226B Social Ecology 1
Irvine, CA 92697
United States

New York University

20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

California State University Los Angeles ( email )

5151 State University Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90032
United States

Matt Motyl

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1007 W. Harrison St. (m/c 285)
Psychology Department
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1102 Behavioral Science Building (BSB)
Chicago, IL 60607-7137
United States

HOME PAGE: http://motyl.people.uic.edu

Ravi Iyer

University of Southern California ( email )

Sean P. Wojcik

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92697
United States

Peter H. Ditto

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

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