How do different cultures view moral principles?

Current research on moral identity shows that moral identity predicts moral action in Western cultures, but not in non-Western cultures. This article argues that this may be due to the fact that the concept of moral identity is culturally biased.

How do different cultures view moral principles?

Current research on moral identity shows that moral identity predicts moral action in Western cultures, but not in non-Western cultures. This article argues that this may be due to the fact that the concept of moral identity is culturally biased. To remedy this situation, we argue that researchers should expand their fields of research by adding a cultural lens to their studies of moral identity. This change is important because, while some concept of moral identity is likely to exist in all cultures, it can work in different ways and at different levels in each place.

We propose that moral identity is a context-dependent construction linked to various social and cultural obligations. We argue that Western moral identity emphasizes individual-oriented morality, while people in Eastern cultures consider a highly moral person to have a social orientation. We conclude by discussing the implications of this point of view for future research. This point of view is called cultural relativism, the position that morality is relative to culture itself.

Cultural relativism is a moral theory. It is a theory, in the scientific sense that it is a system for explaining how morality works, in the same way that quantum theory is a system for explaining the behavior of quantum (subatomic) particles. While someone who holds the view that culture is the source of morality would definitely be a cultural relativist, it is not true that every source of morality has a corresponding moral theory. Some sources of morality can lead to more than one moral theory, and some moral theories can be traced back to more than one source of morality.

Don't worry though, we'll go one at a time to make things simple. Kohlberg's vision predominated over the past few decades, but recent theoretical developments in social and cultural psychology (Shweder et al. From that point of view, the relevant internal mechanisms are adaptations and the products of natural selection. Thus, rudimentary moral intuitions, such as aversion to harm and reciprocity, date back to the beginning of human history.

Morality evolved long before the rise of our species and fulfils the adaptive function of facilitating cooperation within groups and against enemies. In fact, this evolutionary framework focuses on motivational orientations rooted in evolved unconscious emotional systems developed by experiences that predispose someone to react to an act or events in a particular way. It is suggested that the evolutionary adaptations of species seem to regulate behaviors and promote individual well-being. As such, an individual's moral principles are relative to the culture to which they belong.

According to cultures, the notions of good and evil are defined differently and lead to different values and principles. The same action could well be considered a serious moral transgression in some cultures and a simple social crime in others (Shweder et al. From this perspective, morality extends beyond intercultural differences. Every society has a moral system that depends on its beliefs, ideologies and views of the world (Jensen, 2011).

The history of societies has demonstrated, for example, that some perceive divorce, induced abortion or, more recently, same-sex marriages as a direct violation of morality and, therefore, should be avoided at all costs. Therefore, not everyone has the same idea of the areas to which morality can be applied (Skitka et al. Haidt (200) suggests the term “moral community” to characterize each group that shares the same values and moral norms; these groups also share the same ideas about how to enforce them. Individuals in Eastern cultures, therefore, need less recourse to argumentation to justify their moral judgments or choices.

Approaching morality from an intuitionist perspective leads to considering conscious moral reasoning as secondary to automatic and unconscious moral reasoning in moral judgment. The authors suggest that the low effect size could be due to different conceptualizations of moral identity between cultures or to the lack of validity of current measures of moral identity in non-Western cultures. This, in turn, means that some moral rules apply no matter where you are from and what your beliefs are. This type of moral discourse is part of the model of Eastern moral systems, which involves the ethics of the Community or the ethics of Divinity, rather than the ethics of Autonomy.

However, the theory of morality as cooperation neglects the role of disgust in moral reactions, which is found in the principle of purity of the theory of the moral foundation. For them, the answer is “yes”, because moral development is closely related to cognitive development and, later, to the development of reasoning skills. Therefore, the use of the moralistic language of personality is not idle talk or a simple disconcerting observation, but an instrument for producing social consequences. Ethical and moral codes remain critical and universal components of human culture and have a stronger imprint on language than most aspects of the popular Big Five taxonomy, a model that establishes five main lines of individual differences and variations in human personality.

Cultural relativism emerges when the same basic moral principles are applied in different life situations. Cultural relativists have to admit that slavery was actually morally correct in the mid-19th century United States because it was commonly accepted. This examination of the moral psychology literature, which includes Kohlberg's stages of moral reasoning, Shweder's ethical codes, and Haidt's moral foundations, suggests that morality is not culturally universal. The first process consists of developing a structured representation of the situation, integrating its schedule, its causal chain, the intentions of its taxpayers, its moral properties and all the relevant implicit elements.

Depending on history, religious beliefs, social ecology and institutional rules (such as the structure of kinship or economic markets), each society develops a moral system. Haidt and Joseph (200) expanded the “big three” approach in terms of morality in their theory of the moral foundation. They do not provide any additional explanation detailing the cognitive processes that underpin moral intuitions. .

Pam Skrip
Pam Skrip

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