Morality and Moral Development (HD 409, Psych 309)

Jon Haidt

Human Development, University of Chicago, Spring, 1993

Mondays, 1:00-3:50, HD Seminar Room

By late childhood, children have a good idea of how their social world ought to be, and how people ought to behave. But they don't just know the rules of their culture; they begin to care about them too, and to feel gripped or obligated by them. This course will focus on the central mystery of moral development: why and how do people come to care that things be done a certain way, even in situations that do not directly affect them? We will briefly cover the major approaches taken by Western psychologists and sociologists, and then ask how well these approaches account for the breadth of moral systems and socialization practices found around the world. We will conclude by searching for order in the variety, attempting to build culturally informed models of moral development. The course will be run as a graduate seminar, limited to 20 people.

Course information: I will lecture for 20-40 minutes each class, and the remaining time will be discussion. To encourage a high level of participation, everyone (including auditors) is required to write 3-10 sentences of thoughts or questions on the readings for each class. Those taking the course for credit will write one substantial integrative/creative paper, due June 3.

You are advised to buy the following books, at the Seminary Coop, under my name: Moral Education, by Durkheim; The Moral Judgment of the Child, by Piaget; and Passions within reason, by Robert Frank. Other readings will be made available, either at Regenstein, or in the HD office.

Office Hours: I'll always be available to talk after class, or by appointment. Call me at home, 684-0527.


3/29) Introduction. Approaches to morality. Social learning theory.

4/5) Durkheim.

Book: Durkheim, E. (1925/1961). Moral Education (p.1-126).

4/12) Piaget vs. Durkheim.

Book: Piaget, J. (1932/1965). The Moral Judgment of the Child (pages to be assigned).

4/19) Cognitive-Developmentalism.

Xeroxes: 1)Kohlberg, L. (1971). From is to ought: How to commit the naturalistic fallacy and get away with it in the study of moral development. In T. Mischel (Ed.), Psychology and Genetic Epistemology. New York: Academic Press.

2)Nucci, L., & Turiel, E. (1978). Social interactions and the development of social concepts in preschool children. Child Development, 49, 400-407.

4/26) The cultural critique of Cognitive-Developmentalism

Xeroxes: 1)Shweder, R. A., Mahapatra, M., & Miller, J. (1987). Culture and moral development. In J. Kagan and S. Lamb (Eds.), The emergence of morality in young children. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2)Haidt, J., Koller, S., & Dias, M. (in press). Affect, culture, and the morality of harmless offenses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

5/3) Evolution and the Emotions.

Book: Frank, R. (1988). Passions within reason.

5/10) To be arranged, by class interest. Perhaps Freud, or moral philosophy, or sociopathy, or disgust and morality.

5/17) Socialization cross-culturally

Xeroxes: to be arranged.

5/24) Culturally universal models of morality

Xeroxes: 1)Fiske, A. P. (1992). Four elementary forms of sociality: Framework for a unified theory of social relations. Psychological Review, 99, 689-723.

2)Shweder, R. A. (in press). The big three of morality: autonomy, community, and divinity, and the big three explanations of suffering, as well. In P. Rozin (Ed.), Morality and Health. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

5/31) Memorial day, no class. May be rescheduled.