cult ch7 notes


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CHAPTER 7 – MORALITY, RELIGION, AND JUSTICE As the world develops and progresses and science continues to make discoveries, religious explanations of phenomena are becoming supplanted by rational and scientific explanations Secularization theory = religion is on the decline; people around the world are discovering new secular and rational ways to make sense of their lives Universalism, Evolutionism, and Relativism Universalism = sees people from different cultures as largely the same; any observed cultural variability exists only at a superficial level; more careful analysis will reveal common underlying processes; assume that people are the same wherever you go and the differences that we see across cultures are largely differences in terms of conventions and are of little significance; cultural peculiarities contribute little to our understanding of what drives humans to act in the ways they do Chomsky proposed notion of universal grammar in all languages o Many universal features of word orders and morphemes o People who grow up without hearing correct grammar, hear their parents speak a “pidgin language” (language created out of a mixture of different languages as a means of communicating among people who don’t share a common language) end up creating and speaking grammatically complex language themselves o Like “creole language” (languages learned by people whose parents speak a pidgin language); unlike pidgin language, it has a fixed morphology, syntax, and complicated grammatical rules; share grammatical features with other languages of the world despite their origin in spontaneous pidgin language Relativism = cultural diversity in ways of thinking is not superficial but reflects genuinely different psychological processes; culture and thought are mutually constituted; cultural practices are viewed to lead to certain habitual ways of thinking and because cultural practices vary considerably across cultures, expect ways of thinking to vary; urge people to be slow to pass judgment on other cultures and first consider why the various cultural practices exist as they do Evolutionism = cultural variability reflects genuine differences in psychology processes (similar to relativism); there really is only 1 way that the mind has evolved to think (similar to universalism); interprets cultural differences in ways of thinking as reflecting increasing stages of development; some ways of thinking are more mature or advanced than others; people of different cultures would all think in the same ways once they reached the same point of development or participated in a cultural context that allowed for the full expression of the mind’s capabilities; approach for investigating cultural variability is first to identify a particular psychological process as a standard of mature or advanced thinking then to evaluate other cultures by how closely they match this standard Muller-Lyer illusion = line on the left looks longer than the line on the right, even though measure the two they’re the same length
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This note was uploaded on 01/16/2012 for the course PSYC 307 taught by Professor Stevenheine during the Winter '11 term at UBC.

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