Do Moral Intuitions Change in Different Situations?

In response the Jonathan Haidt’s comment on Bryan’s post:

One of my biggest questions about Haidt’s work: are people’s moral intuitions consistent across different situations?

We know that behavior is often not generalized across situations. i.e. interventions in children’s homes/families have little or no effect on their behavior at school.

I wonder if survey choices distinguishing between the private and public realms would yield very different weightings in different groups.

For instance: if we looked at honesty/truthfulness (a realm I very much wish that Haidt would explore–not just “authenticity” or integrity), would we find that Conservatives value it highly (more than Liberals?) in private, especially face-to-face, dealings, but downgrade it significantly in public dealings where groups are interacting–notably in public debate–situations where group loyalty would overwhelm it?

This in general raises the thorny issue of interactions between the realms, an issue that promises to do for Haidt’s work what genetic interactions and epigenetics have done in genetics: make it extraordinarily complex (and interesting).



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