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Moral Development and RealityBeyond the Theories of Kohlberg, Hoffman, and Haidt$
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John C. Gibbs

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199976171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199976171.001.0001

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Beyond Haidt’s New Synthesis

Beyond Haidt’s New Synthesis

(p.17) 2 Beyond Haidt’s New Synthesis
Moral Development and Reality

John C. Gibbs

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the neo-nativist and enculturative themes of Jonathan Haidt's theory of morality, with particular emphasis on his argument that the field of moral development and education has gained a broader, truer depiction of morality thanks to what he called a “new synthesis” in the social, behavioral, and biological sciences. It considers three key themes of this new synthesis—in-group solidarity (“morality binds and builds”), intuitive primacy, and social persuasion by focusing on rescue in the desegregation movement in the United States in the 1970s. It also explores moral reasoning within the context of Haidt's proposed new synthesis for moral psychology and three limitations of Haidt's approach: descriptive inadequacy or negative skew, unwarranted exclusion or studied avoidance of prescriptive implications, and moral relativism.

Keywords:   morality, Jonathan Haidt, moral development, new synthesis, in-group solidarity, intuitive primacy, social persuasion, rescue, moral reasoning, moral relativism

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