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Planet of the Durkheimians, Where Community, Authority, and Sacredness are Foundations of Morality

34 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2007  

Jonathan Haidt

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

Jesse Graham

University of Southern California

Date Written: December 11, 2006

Abstract

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.

Keywords: morality, moral judgment, conservatism, liberalism, intuitive ethics

Suggested Citation

Haidt, Jonathan and Graham, Jesse, Planet of the Durkheimians, Where Community, Authority, and Sacredness are Foundations of Morality (December 11, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=980844 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.980844

Jonathan Haidt (Contact Author)

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

Jesse Graham

University of Southern California ( email )

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

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

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