Political identity and moral education: A response to Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind

Journal of Moral Education 42 (3):298-315 (2013)
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In The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt claims that liberals have a narrower moral outlook than conservatives—they are concerned with fairness and relief of suffering, which Haidt sees as individualistic values, while conservatives care about authority and loyalty too, values concerned with holding society together. I question Haidt’s methodology, which does not permit liberals to express concerns with social bonds that do not fit within an ‘authority’ or ‘loyalty’ framework and discounts people who support liberal positions but do not self-ascribe as liberals. I also argue that of the six ‘moral foundations’, fairness and relief of suffering are more fundamental values than authority and loyalty, which are virtues only if their objects are worthy. Moral education programs must also encourage students to recognize some values as more urgent than others, and permit inquiry into the actual reasons for political behavior other than professed value commitments.



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Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations.Jesse Graham, Jonathan Haidt & Brian A. Nosek - 2009 - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96 (5):1029-1046.


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Lawrence Blum
University of Massachusetts, Boston

References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
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Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.

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