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Does Parenting Style Shape Our Moral Culture?

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A moral culture is the set of beliefs and practices in a society that specifies the values and norms that (people believe) ought to be adopted by the people living in that society. There are many different moral cultures. Psychologists and sociologists frequently talk, for example, about honour-based moral cultures. These are cultures in which the moral worth of each individual is not equal. It depends on the honour of each individual. Consequently, gaining and protecting one’s honour is the focal point of the moral beliefs and practices in such a culture. Honour-based cultures are sometimes contrasted with dignity-based moral cultures, which essentially hold that all people are of equal moral worth and this equality must be respected by the society’s moral beliefs and practices. These are just illustrative examples. The concept of a moral culture is broader than that. Since a moral culture is, in essence, just a particular constellation of moral beliefs and practices, usually held together by some common underlying moral theory or paradigm, we could also talk about individualist, communitarian, and egalitarian moral cultures. As you may know, I’ve recently been writing quite a bit about the idea of moral change and moral revolution. It is an obvious historical fact that people’s moral beliefs and practices change over time. The more dramatic moral changes — the revolutions — often involve changes in the underlying moral culture. For instance, the shift from honour-based morality to dignity-based morality is often thought to be a significant one. But here’s an interesting question: does parenting style make a difference to moral culture? And can shifts in parenting style precipitate or cause moral revolutions? I recently came across a paper that addresses these questions. It was by Markus Christen, Darcia Narvaez and Eveline Gutzwiller-Helfenfinger (hereafter ‘Christen et al’) and it was called ‘Comparing and Integrating Biological and Cultural Moral Progress’.. . .

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News source: Philosophical Disquisitions

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