The Moral Ecosystem

There seems to be a fair amount of biodiversity in the ecological system of human morality.

Let’s peek into the pools and rivulets of the moral ecosystem:

Jonathan Haidt in The Righteous Mind found six basic species of morality: (1) care/harm, (2) fairness/cheating, (3) loyalty/betrayal, (4) authority/subversion, (5) sanctity/degradation, and (6) liberty/oppression.

Dennis L. Krebs in The Origin of Morality found five species: (1) respect for authority, (2) self-control, (3) altruism, (4) fairness, and (5) honesty.

These rosters only partly overlap, which leads me to suspect a full roster would extend to quite a few more than five or six.

Given this fairly diverse moral ecosystem, how can it best be dealt with, or accommodated?

I think the answer lies in looking at what actual experiments in moral species protection have most succeeded.

One is international society – in which sovereign states generally leave each other alone so long as one does not harm the others. Another is civil society – in which the state avoids imposing one public morality allowing differing moralities to coexist in the private sphere so long as one does not harm the others.

It may be that neither is perfect, but I know of no more successful experiments.


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Filed under international society

One response to “The Moral Ecosystem

  1. Pingback: Moral Animals | Breviosity

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