morality from a cultural perspective.

I’m taking an education class this semester called “cross-cultural perspectives of child development”
i keep telling people i don’t like it because of the way it’s taught.

but tbh, it actually has given me a very broad introduction to psychology and child development, especially pertaining to the social, cultural, moral, developmental aspects of it.

i wanted to write a few words about my reading this week.
The essay I read this week “Culture and Moral Development” actually has gotten me to think a lot actually.

It relates to Kohlberg’s stage of moral development and Turiel’s social interactionist theory. don’t let the names scare you. it’s actually very simple
Kohlberg states there are three states: preconventional, conventional, postconventional.
think of preconventional as doing things because you like them, conventional because society permits them and postconventional because it is morally right to do them.
you can see how the consideration of the actions grow from one person to the universe in the last stage.
he states that human beings advance through these stages.
i learnt about this theory at the beginning of the year and I loved it. cause i was like i’m definitely at the postconventional stage. i’m so awesome.

the second theory is social interactionist theory
which maintains that there are two types of right/wrong
moral truths: stuff is right/wrong regardless of the context
conventional: stuff is right/wrong because of some conseus-defined social practices.

the essay actually does a very good job at theoretically pointing out the flaws of the two theories (and has researching findings to back it up. but it’s all just stats which makes for skimming)
so i loved the Kohlberg’s theory. what’s wrong?
a. the interview required people to speak like moral philosophers. and our ability to understand differs greatly from our ability to articulate
b. if probed correctly, even little children understand rights and wrongs.
c. Kohlberg’s definition of postconventional stage is very specific to discretionary features of the moral code he chose. his theory assumes some normative moral code which is not applicable to everyone.

what’s wrong with social interactionist theory?
a. people in other cultures don’t separate these domains. they sort of seem them as one thing.
an example is Hindi beliefs that eating beef is a sin because cow was our first mother.

the moral of the story (pun intended) is that:
1. a moral code must have some sense of justice.  treat like cases similarly, treat difference cases differently, there’s a sense of justice.
2. a moral code must have a natural law guiding it. something is wrong regardless of the context
3. a moral code must something it is trying to protect, rights, duties, wrongs.
and as long all three parts are non-contradicting, rationally defendable then you have a moral code.

this in some ways is more meta than philosophy.
i guess it’s interesting to realize that all humans are bound to be caught in some cultural mode of thinking. the more big picture way is to look at the different cultures.

but it also coincides with some things i’ve been hearing lately from different sources
on realising you’re never better than someone. any theory that supports that is self-assuming. we’re just different.
it could be said we’re always wrong. the fact that we keep changing over our lifetime seems to point to that fact.
on this realization we are wrong all the time comes the consequence that we are vulnerable beings. we have to embrace that


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