Gruppen for praktisk filosofi

On studying morality without ethics: normative assumptions in moral foundations theory

Audun Syltevik (Ph.d.-stipendiat, SVT) holder innlegg i Gruppen for praktisk filosofi 27. oktober, kl. 15.15


Moral foundations theory is one of the more important theories within moral psychology today. The theory roughly states that there are several moral foundations, that are understood as evolutionary formed, modular, innate, and learning sensitive. The most well-known empirical finding of the theory is a difference between liberals and conservatives regarding which moral foundations they use in making moral judgements, and how similar differences appear in cross-cultural studies. Moral foundations theory is also conceived of as purely descriptive, as is most theorising within moral psychology. In this paper I will highlight some of the normative assumptions that are nevertheless present in moral foundations theory, and argue that these assumptions cannot be separated from the findings of the theory.