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How Cultural Psychology Can Help Us See “Divinity” in a Secular World

How Cultural Psychology Can Help Us See “Divinity” in a Secular World

Chapter:
(p.32) Two How Cultural Psychology Can Help Us See “Divinity” in a Secular World
Source:
Universalism without Uniformity
Author(s):
Jonathan HaidtPaul Rozin
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226501710.003.0003

This essay describes the ways that our thinking about morality changed in response to Richard Shweder’s writings about morality, and in particular his description of the “ethics of divinity.” It first describes Shweder’s theory of the “three ethics” of moral discourse and explain why the theory was so important for moral psychology. It then shows how useful the ethics of divinity has been for understanding some puzzles about sexual morality, bioethical controversies, and the American culture war more generally, and closes with an endorsement of moral pluralism. It uses the story of Flatland, a short novel by the English mathematician Edwin Abbot, published in 1884, as an analogy to describe the move from psychology to cultural psychology that such a perspective enables.

Keywords:   divinity, secularism, Three Ethics, moral discourse, Flatland, cultural psychology, cross-cultural psychology, Sexual morality, bioethics

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