haidt.graham.2009.planet-of-the-durkheimians.pub062ms.doc - Haidt Graham 1 Planet of the Durkheimians Where Community Authority and Sacredness are

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Haidt & Graham -- 1 Planet of the Durkheimians, Where Community, Authority, and Sacredness are Foundations of Morality Jonathan Haidt and Jesse Graham University of Virginia Final Draft, as submitted for proof-reading Full Citation: Haidt, J., & Graham, J. (2009). Planet of the Durkheimians, where community, authority, and sacredness are foundations of morality. In J. Jost, A. C. Kay & H. Thorisdottir (Eds.), Social and psychological bases of ideology and system justification (pp. 371-401). New York: Oxford. Abstract Most academic efforts to understand morality and ideology come from theorists who limit the domain of morality to issues related to harm and fairness. For such theorists, conservative beliefs are puzzles requiring non-moral explanations. In contrast, we present moral foundations theory, which broadens the moral domain to match the anthropological literature on morality. We extend the theory by integrating it with a review of the sociological constructs of community, authority, and sacredness, as formulated by Emile Durkheim and others. We present data supporting the theory, which also shows that liberals misunderstand the explicit moral concerns of conservatives more than conservatives misunderstand liberals. We suggest that what liberals see as a non-moral motivation for system justification may be better described as a moral motivation to protect society, groups, and the structures and constraints that are often (though not always) beneficial for individuals. Finally, we outline the possible benefits of a moral foundations perspective for System Justification Theory, including better understandings of 1) why the system-justifying motive is palliative despite some harmful effects, 2) possible evolutionary origins of the motive, and 3) the values and worldviews of conservatives in general. Author Note We thank David Harsdorf, Steven Hitlin, John Jost, Selin Kesebir, Heidi Maibom, Jamie Mayerfeld, Brian Nosek, Deborah Prentice, Kate Ranganath, Gary Sherman, Peter Singer, and Colin Tucker Smith for helpful comments on earlier drafts. Haidt thanks the Princeton University Center for Human Values for providing the time, support, and discussion needed to write this paper. Please address comments to [email protected] or to [email protected]
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Haidt & Graham -- 2 It has not yet been revealed to the public, but we have it on good authority that intelligent life was recently discovered on a planet several light years away. The planet has been given an unpronounceable technical name, but scientists refer to the planet informally as “Planet Durkheim.” Judging by the television signals received, Durkheimians look rather like human beings, although their behavior is quite different. Durkheimians crave, above all else, being tightly integrated into strong groups that cooperatively pursue common goals. They have little desire for self-expression or individual development, and when the requirements of certain jobs force individuals to spend much time alone, or when the needs of daily life force individuals to
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