Ethics and Values in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

By Joel Lefkowitz | Go to book overview
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5
Moral Psychology

Philosophers tell us that there is an element of rational choice in human morality, psychologists say that there is a learning component, and anthropologists argue that there are few if any universal rules. The distinction between right and wrong is made by people on the basis of how they would like their society to function. It arises from interpersonal negotiation in a particular environment, and derives its sense of obligation and guilt from the internalization of these processes.

—Frans de Waal

The preceding three chapters have focused on some of the metatheoretical issues and normative theories constituting moral philosophy. The primary concerns of philosophers have been the specification of prescriptive models of moral reasoning, the metatheoretical assumptions on which they rest and the logical adequacy of the criteria that define each model. Philosophers have not been unmindful of such important related topics as the association between moral judgments and the motivation of moral behavior (cf. Adams, 1976; Stocker, 1976) or the practicality of their normative theories. However, those are empirical issues that have remained largely secondary in terms of their expertise and interest.

In contrast, a growing domain of moral psychology that consists of “attempts to analyze moral phenomena in terms of psychological concepts and processes” (Emler&Hogan, 1991, p. 7 2), has developed during the past century, especially the last half. Although moral psychology has not reached the degree of institutional structure to be designated as a formal specialty area in psychology akin to experimental, clinical, social, or I/O psychology, it has a rather clearly articulated domain of theory, research, and, more

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