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Chapter 13

Chapter 13 cultural psyc.docx

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York University
PSYC 3350
Francois Lalonde

Chapter 13: Mortality, Religion and Justice  Samuel Huntington: argued that the fundamental source of conflict in the new world would not be primarily ideological or economic, but that the largest conflicts will be those that divide the world in cultural and religious terms (controversial)  Secularization theory: holds that religion is on the decline, and that people around the world are discovering secular and rational ways to make sense of their lives Universalism, Evolutionism, and Relativism Three models to understand cultural variability: 1. Universalism: perspective that sees people from different cultures as largely the same, and that any observed cultural variability exists only at a superficial level o Ex. Language- may seem to have a lot of variability, but it actually has a lot in common o Chomsky: proposed the notion of a universal grammar seen in all languages  Evidence: those who grow up without hearing correct grammer (pidgin language) end up speaking creole languages(languages learned by people whose parents speak a pidgin language)  creole languages share the same grammatical features with other languages of the world 2. relativism: cultural diversity in ways of thinking is not superficial but reflects genuinely different psychological processes o cultural practices are viewed to lead to certain habitual ways of thinking; ways of thinking vary across culture o ex. East Asian cultures more concerned with face, whereas Westerners more concerned with self esteem o relativists not concerned with describing which cultures better or worse 3. evolutionism o similar to relativism, it also maintains that cultural variability reflects genuine differences in psychological processes o similar to universalism, it maintains that there is really only one way that the mind has evolved to think o this view sees cultural differences in ways of thinking as reflecting increasing stages of development o all would think the same way if reached the same development….same experiences o to study cultural variability, pick a psychological process as a standard of mature or advanced thinking, then compare how other cultures match with the standard Ethnocentrism and Interpreting Cultural Variability  evolutionist perspective met with most resistance: concerns whether one can objectively identify a standard  enthnocentrism: leads ppl to assuming own culture is better or more natural than others KOHLBERG’S STAGES OF MORAL DEVELOPMENT  Kohlberg: provided explanation regarding people’s abilities to reason morally o Maintained that moral reasoning implicated cognitive abilities, and that those abilities would progress as individuals developed/matured/ educated o What we think is right or wrong depends on our stage of moral development o Three level model of the developmental progress of moral reasoning in all cultures: 1) The Preconventional Level  People understand cultural rules and labels of what is good/bad  See these labels as either physical or hedonistic consequences of actions  good or bad depends on whether it satisfies one’s own needs, and sometimes needs of others  at this level, morality is about trying to behave in a way that provides the best overall return 2) The Conventional Level  At this level, people identify themselves to a particular group & social order  Morality is about following the rules (to maintain social order), and individuals should not question where those rules come from 3) The Postconventional Level  At this level, moral values and principles are seen to exist separately from authority of the social groups that hold them  Doesn’t matter whether people agree with you or not  Moral reasoning is based on the consideration of abstract ethical principles of what is right or wrong, and moral decisions are reached based on the logical extensions of those principles  All three levels represent a universal pattern of moral development because the lvls are always seen to follow sequentially  One aspect of the model not universal is in the lvls that different cultures reach  There is cultural variation in the extent of people’s moral reasoning capabilities  Developmental standard: moral reasoning that emphasizes abstract ethical principles based on justice and individual rights Cross Cultural Evidence for Kohlberg’s Model  In 45 studies: o In all cultural groups there were adults who reasoned at the conventional levels and in no cultural groups did the average adult reason at the preconventional level, although many samples of children did o Universal for preconventional/conventional moral reasoning, no evidence for universal post conventional reasoning o Every urban western sample had some individuals showing reasoning based on justice/rights; Not a single person from traditional tribal/village showed this reasoning o Kohlberg’s model may not be applicable around the world…(describes more western) ETHICS OF AUTONOMY, COMMUNITY, AND DIVINITY  Shweder argues Kohlberg’s model only represents 1 of the 3 different codes of ethics guding moral judgments around the world a) ethic of autonomy (code of ethics found in Kohlberg’s model) o Emphasizes on personal choice, individual liberty, and rights o Act is seen as immoral if it directly hurts another person or takes away rights b) Ethic of community o Emphasizes that individuals have duties that conform with their roles in a community or social hierarchy o Ethical principle to uphold one’s interpersonal duties and obligations towards others o Immoral behaviours are those that involve failure to live up to duties/obligations associated with one’s roles c) Ethic of divinity o Concerned with sanctity and perceived natural order of things o Ethical principle that one is obligated to preserve the standards mandated by a transcendent authority o Involves belief that God (or gods, etc) o Immoral actions are ones that cause impurity or degradation to oneself/others, or if one shows disrespect to God’s creations  These codes of ethics are moral codes which is not based on subjective preferences or community view.  Three ethics not equally seen across cultures ETHIC OF COMMUNITY  Gilligan: interpersonal obligations represent a kind of morality that is distinct from emphasis on individual rights, and that women are more likely to reason this way than are men Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft Relations  Debate on interpersonal/justice obligations differ in cultures traced back to Tonnies  Tonnies: argued that there are 2 means by which individuals can relate to each other in a group A. Gemeinschaft groups are characteristics of smaller folk organizations, and within these groups, interpersonal relationships play an impt role o Relationships bind people together; central to one’s identity (interdependent self) o Does not view relationships in instrumental terms, sees it as real, organic, and ends in themselves o Ex. Nuclear family B. Gesellschaft groups are more characteristics of modern western societies o Treats relationships as imaginary, instrumental and a means to an end o Autonomous individuals bound together through social convention o Impersonal, somewhat contractual o Justice obligations govern disputes among individuals Ethic of Community in India  Moral obligations different from other responsibilities: I. objective obligations: meaning people believe they have an obligation to act a certain way, even without official rule or law ( *matter of obligation: when obligation only present if there is a law) II. legitimately regulated: people should be prevented from engaging in moral violation or be punished if they have (*viewed as matter of personal choice if people feel they someone should not be prevented…not M.O) Ex. M.O: Pickpocketing; P.C. : failing to attend friend’s graduation  Violations only considered moral ones if they are objective obligations that can be legitimately regulated  Study on interpersonal and justice obligation: o Steal a train ticket, or miss friend’s wedding o Within each culture, many people would choose justice obligation, and many would choose interpersonal obligation o Difference across cultures: Indians more likely to resolve the conflict by fulfilling their interpersonal obligations than are Americans o Indians more likely to view inpersonal breaches in moral terms (objective obligations that could be legitimately regulated) ETHIC OF DIVINITY  Immoral actions are those that violate natural order of things; to be immoral we need to view it as universally wrong and something that should be prevented  Ex. A man buys a dead chicken from the supermarket; before cooking he has sexual intercourse with it. Then he cooks and eats it.  If you feel that the natural order of things has been breached….then your experiencing a violation of the ethic of divinity  study: majority of Penn students(high SES) did not view the man’s behaviour as immoral, although the vast majority perceived it to be quite disgusting  High and low SES people in Brazil and America: majority of the low status people viewed the man’s behaviour as immoral  M
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