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Morality and Justice Across Cultures. Guest Lectures: March 22-26, 2010. The Kargar case.

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Morality and justice across cultures

Morality and Justice Across Cultures

Guest Lectures: March 22-26, 2010


The kargar case
The Kargar case

  • In a 1996 case in Maine, USA (State of Maine v. Mohammed Kargar, 679 A. 2d 81), a refugee from Afghanistan living in Maine was charged with child molestation after he was reported to have been seen kissing the genitals of his infant son.

  • Mohammed Kargar provided baby-sitting services to local families. One of these children saw Mohammed Kargar kiss the genitals of his own 18-month-old son. The child that Kargar was babysitting reported Kargar’s behavior to her parents, who found out that Kargar had been seen doing this before. They reported the incident to the police, and Kargar was charged with child molestation.

  • Kargar claimed that his gesture was customary and familiar to members of his family and within the Afghani community, where it is understood as a display of love and affection for baby boys. His claim was supported by others familiar with Afghani cultures.


Discuss with your partner
Discuss with your partner

  • Was what Karagar did imoral?

  • Are there cultural differences in what is “moral?”

    • If so, what are they?

  • How do we make our moral judgments?

    • Is it based on cold, rational thinking?

    • Or is it based on our “gut” reaction?


Morality and justice across cultures clarification
Morality and Justice Across Cultures: clarification

I will tell you about research on

  • Psychological questions: “Do, How, Why?...”

    • Do different cultures have different morals?

      I won’t tell you about

  • Philosophical/ Political Questions


Objectives for today march 22 2010
Objectives For Today March 22, 2010

  • You will be able to identify and define 6 stages of Kohlberg’s Moral Development Model

  • You will be able to critically evaluate Kohlberg’s model and answer the question:

    • Are there universal stages of moral reasoning?


Lawrence kohlberg 1927 1987
Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987)

  • Interested in the question of “how do

    we explainwhy something is right or wrong?”

  • Developed Stages of Moral Development theory

  • Contracted tropical infection testing out the universality of his 3 levels in Belize, which eventually caused him to commit suicide (rumored)


Presented dilemmas to adults and children heinz dilemma
Presented Dilemmas to adults and children: Heinz Dilemma

  • Heinz’s wife is dying from cancer

  • Medicine is too expensive

    • Page 282 of your textbook

      Question: Should he break into the drugstore and steal the medicine?

  • Answers categorized into stages


Six stages of moral development
Six Stages of Moral Development

  • Different levels of increasing “internalization”

  • Level 1: Preconventional

    • Stages 1 & 2

  • Level 2: Conventional

    • Stages 3 & 4

  • Level 3: Postconventional

    • Stages 5 & 6


Six stages of moral development1
Six Stages of Moral Development

  • Level 1: Preconventional

  • Needs and fears

    • Stage 1: Obedience, Punishment, and Reward

      • “Shouldn’t steal, because Heinz will get in trouble”

    • Stage 2: Self-Interest and Reciprocity

      • “Should steal, because his wife needs the medicine more than the druggist needs money”

  • Level 2: Conventional

  • Level 3: Postconventional


Six stages of moral development2
Six Stages of Moral Development

  • Level 1: Preconventional

  • Level 2: Conventional

  • Follow the conventions of others and society

    • Stage 3: Interpersonal accord and conformity

      • “His family will think he’s good if he steals”

    • Stage 4: Social accord and system maintenance

      • “He should follow the law, because the law is what is right”

  • Level 3: Postconventional


Six stages of moral development3
Six Stages of Moral Development

  • Level 1: Preconventional

  • Level 2: Conventional

  • Level 3: Postconventional

  • Universal moral principles

    • Stage 5: Individual Rights

    • Stage 6:Universal Ethical Principles

  • Stages 5 & 6 generally combined

    • “Heinz should steal because it is always wrong to allow a person to die when you have the power to prevent it, regardless of what the law says.”


Discuss with partner
Discuss with partner

Judy was a twelve-year-old girl. Her mother promised her that she could go to a special rock concert coming to their town if she saved up from baby-sitting and lunch money to buy a ticket to the concert. She managed to save up the fifteen dollars the ticket cost plus another five dollars. But then her mother changed her mind and told Judy that she had to spend the money on new clothes for school. Judy was disappointed and decided to go to the concert anyway. She bought a ticket and told her mother that she had only been able to save five dollars. That Saturday she went to the performance and told her mother that she was spending the day with a friend. A week passed without her mother finding out. Judy then told her older sister, Louise, that she had gone to the performance and had lied to her mother about it. Louise wonders whether to tell their mother what Judy did.

  • Should Louise tell her mom that Judy lied? Why or why not?

  • Think of one reason from each stage.


Six stages of moral development4
Six Stages of Moral Development

  • Level 1: Preconventional:

    • Stage 1: Obedience, Punishment, and Reward

    • Stage 2: Self-Interest and Reciprocity

  • Level 2: Conventional:

    • Stage 3: Interpersonal accord and conformity

    • Stage 4: Social accord and system maintenance

  • Level 3: Postconventional:

    • Stage 5: Individual Rights

    • Stage 6: Universal Principles


Are these universal stages of moral reasoning
Are these universal stages of moral reasoning?

Snarey et al. (1985)

45 studies from around the world, 27 different cultures

  • All Children preconventional reasoning

  • Most adults  conventional reasoning

  • All urbanized cultures  some postconventional reasoning

  • Folk / Tribal societies  NO postconventional reasoning


Summary
Summary

  • Kohlberg’s 3 levels: 6 stages of Moral Development

    • Preconventional

    • Conventional

    • Postconventional

  • Do all cultures have all stages?

    • No!

      Next Class: Are there other categories for moral reasoning that are missing from Kohlberg’s stages?


Review of monday s class
Review of Monday’s Class

What are Kohlberg’s 3 levels of Moral Development?

  • Preconventional, Conventional, Postconventional

    6 stages?

    • Stage 1: Obedience, Punishment, and Reward

    • Stage 2: Self-Interest and Reciprocity

    • Stage 3: Interpersonal accord and conformity

    • Stage 4: Social accord and system maintenance

    • Stage 5: Individual Rights

    • Stage 6: Universal Principles


Objectives for today march 24 2010
Objectives for Today March 24, 2010

  • You will be able to identify, describe, and give examples of the 3 Ethics

  • You will be able to critically evaluate whether the 3 moral ethics are universal


Richard shweder
Richard Shweder

  • Professor at University of Chicago

  • Cultural Anthropologist

  • Kohlberg only focusing on some moral principles?

    • Detailed analysis of moral discourse from residents of a north-east Indian city

    • The “Big Three:” Ethics of Autonomy, Community, and Divinity


The big three 1 ethic of autonomy
The Big Three: 1. Ethic of Autonomy

  • Issues of Harm, Rights, and Justice

    • Should protect the freedom of individuals as much as possible

    • Familiar to people in individualistic societies

    • Would consider the following to be moral issues:

      Harm:

      • Whether or not someone was harmed

      • Whether or not someone suffered emotionally

      • Whether or not someone cared for someone weak or vulnerable

      • Whether or not someone was cruel

        Fairness:

      • Whether or not someone was denied his or her rights

      • Whether or not someone acted unfairly

      • Whether or not some people were treated differently than others

      • Whether or not someone tried to control or dominate someone else

Shweder et al, 1997; Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, MFQ, 2007


Ethic of autonomy violation examples
Ethic of Autonomy violation examples:

  • How much money would you need to be paid to be convinced to…

    • A: Stick a pin into the palm of a child you don't know.

    • B: Accept a plasma screen television that a friend of yours wants to give you. You know that your friend bought the TV a year ago from a thief who had stolen it from a wealthy family.

Haidt, 2007


The big three 2 ethic of community
The Big Three: 2. Ethic of Community

  • Issues of Duty, Loyalty, Hierarchy

    • Should be good member of group as much as possible

    • Would consider the following to be moral issues:

      Loyalty to Ingroup:

      • Whether or not someone showed a lack of loyalty

      • Whether or not someone did something to betray his or her group

      • Whether or not the action affected your group

      • Whether or not someone’s action showed love for his or her country

        Hierarchy:

      • Whether or not someone failed to fulfill the duties of his or her role

      • Whether or not someone conformed to the traditions of society

      • Whether or not someone showed a lack of respect for authority

      • Whether or not an action caused chaos or disorder

Shweder et al, 1997; Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, MFQ, 2007


Ethic of community violation examples
Ethic of Community violation examples:

  • How much money would you need to be paid to be convinced to…

    • Say something slightly bad about your nation (which you don't believe to be true) while calling in, anonymously, to a talk-radio show in a foreign nation.

    • Slap your father in the face (with his permission) as part of a comedy skit.

Haidt, 2007


The big three 3 ethic of divinity
The Big Three: 3. Ethic of Divinity

  • Issues of Sacred Order, Purity, Sanctity

    • Should not violate the natural, sacred order of things; should not violate the sanctity one’s body

    • Would consider the following to be moral issues:

      Purity:

      • Whether or not someone did something disgusting

      • Whether or not someone violated standards of purity and decency

      • Whether or not someone was able to control his or her desires

      • Whether or not someone acted in a way that God would approve of

Shweder et al, 1997; Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, MFQ, 2007


Ethic of divinity violation example
Ethic of Divinity violation example:

  • How much money would you need to be paid to be convinced to…

    • Attend a performance art piece in which the actors act like animals for 30 min, including crawling around naked and urinating on stage.

    • Have sexual intercourse with a dead chicken prior to cooking it.

Haidt, 2007



What happens when the ethics conflict an empirical example ethics of autonomy vs community
What happens when the ethics conflict?An Empirical Example: Ethics of Autonomy vs. Community



Why a moral conundrum
Why a moral conundrum?

  • Must choose:

    • Violate your interpersonal obligation? (Community)

    • Violate rules of not harming / stealing from innocent person? (Autonomy)

  • Varied the severity of the situation

  • Asked Indian and American children & adults: what would be your choice?


Results for adults
Results for Adults:

Percentage

of adults

who chose

to protect

Ethic of Community

How undesirable the violations were


Miller bersoff 1992 moral conundrum summary
Miller & Bersoff, 1992 Moral Conundrum: summary

Indian and American adults chose to resolve the conundrum differently.

  • Indian adults  choose Ethics of Community often

  • American adults  violated Ethics of Community often

    = Cultural differences in the relative importance of these different Ethics


Divinity violations
Divinity Violations

A man goes to the supermarket once a week and buys a dead chicken. But before cooking the chicken, he has sexual intercourse with it. Then he cooks and eats it.

Is this morally wrong?


Method
Method

  • Posed moral violation scenarios to high and low socioeconomic status Americans and Brazilians

    Asked:

  • Is this universally wrong?

  • Should it be regulated?


Results
Results

  • High status < immoral

  • Low status > immoral

    More specifically.

  • High status harm = ethic of autonomy

  • Low status  bothered by the event  using emotions?


How about this moral conundrum
How about this moral conundrum?

  • There is a secret group of Canadians living in B.C. who have the ritual practice of eating parts of their deceased relatives' bodies as part of elaborate funeral rituals.

  • Which of the Big 3 Ethics are violated by the cannibals?

  • Which of the Big 3 Ethics would be violated if you stopped the practice?

    • Conflict between ethics (Divinity & Autonomy, but also Community)

    • We’re DISGUSTED first; then think of reasons


Summary1
Summary

3 Ethics:

  • Autonomy

  • Community

  • Divinity

  • Conflict between moral concerns  different cultures resolve them differently

    • Indians vs. Americans

    • Low SES vs. high SES groups

      Next Class: What role do emotions play?


Review of mondays and wednesdays class
Review of Mondays and Wednesdays Class

With a small group CREATE:

  • Two Short Answer questions

  • Two Multiple Choice questions

    based on the material we learned so far!

    Reminder

  • Kohlberg’s stages of moral development ; are they universal?

  • 3 Moral Ethics; what happens in a moral conundrum?


Objectives for today march 26 2010
Objectives For Today March 26, 2010

  • You will be able to explain the role of emotion in identifying moral violations


Disgust a natural moral emotion
Disgust: a natural moral emotion?

  • Jonathan Haidt

  • Is Disgust a good reason to judge something to be immoral?


Hypnotized disgust
Hypnotized Disgust

  • Hypnotized Disgust (Wheatley & Haidt, 2005)

    • Participants hypnotized:

      • “When you read the word “often,” you will feel a brief pang of disgust . . . a sickening feeling in your stomach. You will not remember that you have been told this.”

    • After being brought out of hypnosis, students given several different scenarios to read

    • Asked to rate how immoral the person was, from 0 to 100


Hypnotized disgust example
Hypnotized disgust: example

  • Congressman Arnold Paxton frequently gives speeches condemning corruption and arguing for campaign finance reform. But he is just trying to cover up the fact that he himself [will take bribes from/is often bribed by] the tobacco lobby, and other special interests, to promote their legislation.

  • (often = feel disgust)


Hypnotized disgust no violation example
Hypnotized disgust: no-violation example

  • ‘‘Dan is a student council representative at his school. This semester he is in charge of scheduling discussions about academic issues. He [tries to take/often picks] topics that appeal to both professors and students in order to stimulate discussion.’’

  • (often = feel disgust)


Hypnotized disgust1
Hypnotized Disgust:

  • Why is Dan immoral?

    • ‘‘It just seems like he’s up to something.’’

    • “He’s a popularity-seeking snob.’’

    • ‘‘It just seems so weird and disgusting’’

    • “I don’t know [why it’s wrong], it just is.”

      Made up answers based on feelings!


So do we use emotions or reasoning
So, do we use emotions or reasoning?

  • Haidt argues that we more often first have an emotional response, which actually tells us whether or not something is morally wrong.

  • Then we will try to come up with the reasons for our feelings.

  • Disgust is a particularly powerful moral emotion; even works (to some extent) on people who don’t think it’s a good reason.


Emotions sensitive to moral violations
Emotions sensitive to moral violations

  • Anger  Violation of Autonomy

  • Contempt  Violation of Community

  • Disgust  Violation of Divinity


Summary2
Summary

  • It seems that we use our emotional reactions to reason about moral violations

    • Hypnosis study

    • Matching emotions to violations of ethics



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