Planet of the Durkheimians, Where Community, Authority, and Sacredness are Foundations of Morality
New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business
University of Southern California
December 11, 2006
Most academic efforts to understand morality and ideology come from theorists who constrain the moral domain to issues of harm and fairness. For such theorists, conservative beliefs are puzzles requiring non-moral explanations. In contrast, we present the "five foundations theory of intuitive ethics," which broadens the moral domain to match the anthropological literature on morality. We extend the theory by integrating it with a review of the sociological constructs of community, authority, and sacredness, as formulated by Emile Durkheim and others. We present data supporting the theory, which also shows that liberals may have a special difficulty in understanding the morality of conservatives. We suggest that what liberals see as a non-moral motivation for system justification may be better described as a moral motivation to protect society, groups, and the structures and constraints that are often (though not always) beneficial for individuals.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: morality, moral judgment, conservatism, liberalism, intuitive ethics
Date posted: April 24, 2007