email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
Anger and Forgiveness"Are You There Alone?"10 Good Questions about Life and DeathA Casebook of Ethical Challenges in NeuropsychologyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to Muslim EthicsA Cooperative SpeciesA Critique of the Moral Defense of VegetarianismA Delicate BalanceA Life for a LifeA Life-Centered Approach to BioethicsA Matter of SecurityA Natural History of Human MoralityA Philosophical DiseaseA Practical Guide to Clinical Ethics ConsultingA Question of TrustA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Short Stay in SwitzerlandA Very Bad WizardA World Without ValuesAction and ResponsibilityAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionActs of ConscienceAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction NeuroethicsAdvance Directives in Mental HealthAfter HarmAftermathAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HealthAgainst Moral ResponsibilityAgency and AnswerabilityAgency and ResponsibilityAgency, Freedom, and Moral ResponsibilityAging, Biotechnology, and the FutureAlbert Schweitzer's Reverence for LifeAlphavilleAltruismAmerican EugenicsAmerican PsychosisAn Anthology of Psychiatric EthicsAn Introduction to EthicsAn Introduction to Evolutionary EthicsAn Introduction to Kant's Moral Philosophy And a Time to DieAnimal LessonsAnimal RightsAnimals Like UsApplied Ethics in Mental Health CareAre Women Human?Aristotle on Practical WisdomAristotle's Ethics and Moral ResponsibilityAssisted Suicide and the Right to DieAutonomyAutonomy and the Challenges to LiberalismAutonomy, Consent and the LawBabies by DesignBackslidingBad PharmaBad SoulsBasic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free WillBeauty JunkiesBefore ForgivingBeing AmoralBeing YourselfBending Over BackwardsBending ScienceBernard WilliamsBetter Humans?Better Than WellBeyond ChoiceBeyond GeneticsBeyond HatredBeyond Humanity?Beyond LossBeyond LossBeyond Moral JudgmentBeyond the DSM StoryBias in Psychiatric DiagnosisBioethicsBioethicsBioethics and the BrainBioethics at the MoviesBioethics Beyond the HeadlinesBioethics Critically ReconsideredBioethics in a Liberal SocietyBioethics in the ClinicBiomedical EthicsBiomedical EthicsBiomedical EthicsBiomedical EthicsBiomedical Research and BeyondBiosBioscience EthicsBipolar ChildrenBluebirdBodies out of BoundsBodies, Commodities, and BiotechnologiesBody BazaarBoundBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBraintrustBrandedBreaking the SilenceBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyCapital PunishmentCase Studies in Biomedical Research EthicsChallenging the Stigma of Mental IllnessCharacter and Moral Psychology Character as Moral FictionChild Well-BeingChildrenChildren's RightsChoosing ChildrenChoosing Not to ChooseClinical Dilemmas in PsychotherapyClinical EthicsCloningClose toYouCoercion as CureCoercive Treatment in PsychiatryCognition of Value in Aristotle's EthicsCognitive Disability and Its Challenge to Moral Philosophy Comfortably NumbCommonsense RebellionCommunicative Action and Rational ChoiceCompetence, Condemnation, and CommitmentComprehending CareConducting Insanity EvaluationsConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConflict of Interest in the ProfessionsConsuming KidsContemporary Debates In Applied EthicsContemporary Debates in Moral TheoryContemporary Debates in Social PhilosophyContentious IssuesContesting PsychiatryCrazy in AmericaCreating CapabilitiesCreatures Like Us?Crime and CulpabilityCrime, Punishment, and Mental IllnessCritical Perspectives in Public HealthCritical PsychiatryCrueltyCultural Assessment in Clinical PsychiatryCutting to the CoreCyborg CitizenDamaged IdentitiesDeaf Identities in the MakingDeath Is That Man Taking NamesDebating Same-Sex MarriageDecision Making, Personhood and DementiaDecoding the Ethics CodeDefining DifferenceDefining Right and Wrong in Brain ScienceDefining the Beginning and End of LifeDelusions of GenderDementiaDemocracy in What State?Demons of the Modern WorldDescriptions and PrescriptionsDesert and VirtueDesire, Practical Reason, and the GoodDestructive Trends in Mental HealthDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Difference and IdentityDigital HemlockDigital SoulDignityDisability BioethicsDisability, Difference, DiscriminationDisordered Personalities and CrimeDisorders of VolitionDisorientation and Moral LifeDivided Minds and Successive SelvesDoes Feminism Discriminate against Men?Does Torture Work?Double Standards in Medical Research in Developing CountriesDrugs and JusticeDworkin and His CriticsDying in the Twenty-First CenturyEarly WarningEconomics and Youth ViolenceEmbodied RhetoricsEmerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in BionanotechnologyEmotional ReasonEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions in the Moral LifeEmpathyEmpathy and Moral DevelopmentEmpathy and MoralityEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEncountering NatureEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEngendering International HealthEnhancing EvolutionEnhancing Human CapacitiesEnoughEros and the GoodErotic InnocenceErotic MoralityEssays on Derek Parfit's On What MattersEssays on Free Will and Moral ResponsibilityEthical Choices in Contemporary MedicineEthical Conflicts in PsychologyEthical Dilemmas in PediatricsEthical Issues in Behavioral ResearchEthical Issues in Dementia CareEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthical Issues in the New GeneticsEthical LifeEthical Reasoning for Mental Health ProfessionalsEthical TheoryEthical WillsEthically Challenged ProfessionsEthicsEthicsEthicsEthics and AnimalsEthics and ScienceEthics and the A PrioriEthics and the Discovery of the UnconsciousEthics and the Metaphysics of MedicineEthics at the CinemaEthics Case Book of the American Psychoanalytic AssociationEthics Done RightEthics ExpertiseEthics for EveryoneEthics for PsychologistsEthics for the New MillenniumEthics in CyberspaceEthics in Health CareEthics In Health Services ManagementEthics in Mental Health ResearchEthics in PracticeEthics in PsychiatryEthics in PsychologyEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingEthics of PsychiatryEthics without OntologyEthics, Culture, and PsychiatryEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEvaluating the Science and Ethics of Research on HumansEvilEvil GenesEvil in Modern ThoughtEvil in Modern ThoughtEvolution, Gender, and RapeEvolutionary Ethics and Contemporary BiologyEvolutionary Psychology and ViolenceEvolved MoralityExperiments in EthicsExploding the Gene MythExploiting ChildhoodFacing Human SufferingFact and ValueFaking ItFalse-Memory Creation in Children and AdultsFat ShameFatal FreedomFellow-Feeling and the Moral LifeFeminism and Its DiscontentsFeminist Ethics and Social and Political PhilosophyFeminist TheoryFinal ExamFirst Do No HarmFirst, Do No HarmFlashpointFlesh WoundsForced to CareForgivenessForgivenessForgiveness and LoveForgiveness and ReconciliationForgiveness and RetributionFoucault and the Government of DisabilityFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Forensic Mental Health AssessmentFree WillFree Will And Moral ResponsibilityFree Will and Reactive AttitudesFree Will, Agency, and Meaning in LifeFree?Freedom and ValueFreedom vs. InterventionFriendshipFrom Darwin to HitlerFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Enlightenment to ReceptivityFrom Morality to Mental HealthFrom Silence to VoiceFrontiers of JusticeGender in the MirrorGenetic PoliticsGenetic ProspectsGenetic ProspectsGenetics of Original SinGenetics of Original SinGenocide's AftermathGetting RealGluttonyGood WorkGoodness & AdviceGreedGroups in ConflictGrowing Up GirlGut FeminismHabilitation, Health, and AgencyHandbook for Health Care Ethics CommitteesHandbook of BioethicsHandbook of PsychopathyHappinessHappiness and the Good LifeHappiness Is OverratedHard FeelingsHard LuckHardwired BehaviorHarmful ThoughtsHeal & ForgiveHealing PsychiatryHealth Care Ethics for PsychologistsHeterosyncraciesHistorical and Philosophical Perspectives on Biomedical EthicsHoly WarHookedHookedHow Can I Be Trusted?How Propaganda WorksHow to Do Things with Pornography How to Make Opportunity EqualHow Universities Can Help Create a Wiser WorldHow We HopeHow We Think About DementiaHuman BondingHuman EnhancementHuman GoodnessHuman Identity and BioethicsHuman TrialsHumanism, What's That?Humanitarian ReasonHumanityHumanizing MadnessI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!I Was WrongIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf That Ever Happens to MeImproving Nature?In Defense of FloggingIn Defense of SinIn Love With LifeIn Our Own ImageIn the FamilyIn the Land of the DeafIn the Name of IdentityIn the Wake of 9/11In Two MindsInformed Consent in Medical ResearchInnovation in Medical TechnologyInside Assisted LivingInside EthicsIntelligence, Race, and GeneticsIntensive CareIs Human Nature Obsolete?Is Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Is There a Duty to Die?Is There an Ethicist in the House?Issues in Philosophical CounselingJudging Children As ChildrenJust a DogJust BabiesJust CareJustice for ChildrenJustice for HedgehogsJustice in RobesJustice, Luck, and KnowledgeJustifiable ConductKant on Moral AutonomyKant's Theory of VirtueKids of CharacterKilling McVeighLack of CharacterLack of CharacterLaw and the BrainLearning About School ViolenceLeaving YouLectures on the History of Political PhilosophyLegal and Ethical Aspects of HealthcareLegal Aspects of Mental CapacityLegal ConceptionsLegalizing ProstitutionLet Them Eat ProzacLevelling the Playing FieldLiberal Education in a Knowledge SocietyLiberal EugenicsLife After FaithLife at the BottomLife, Sex, and IdeasListening to the WhispersLiving ProfessionalismLosing Matt ShepardLostLuckyMad in AmericaMad PrideMadhouseMaking Another World PossibleMaking Babies, Making FamiliesMaking Genes, Making WavesMaking Sense of Freedom and ResponsibilityMalignantMasculinity Studies and Feminist TheoryMeaning and Moral OrderMeaning in LifeMeaning in Life and Why It MattersMedical Enhancement and PosthumanityMedical Research for HireMedicalized MasculinitiesMedically Assisted DeathMeditations for the HumanistMelancholia and MoralismMental Health Professionals, Minorities and the PoorMental Illness, Medicine and LawMerit, Meaning, and Human BondageMetaethical SubjectivismMill's UtilitarianismMind FieldsMind WarsMind WarsModern Theories of JusticeModernity and TechnologyMoney ShotMonsterMoral Acquaintances and Moral DecisionsMoral ClarityMoral CultivationMoral Development and RealityMoral Dilemmas in Real LifeMoral DimensionsMoral EntanglementsMoral FailureMoral LiteracyMoral MachinesMoral MindsMoral OriginsMoral Panics, Sex PanicsMoral ParticularismMoral PerceptionMoral PsychologyMoral Psychology: Volume IVMoral RealismMoral RelativismMoral RepairMoral Responsibility and Alternative PossibilitiesMoral Status and Human LifeMoral StealthMoral Theory at the MoviesMoral TribesMoral Value and Human DiversityMoral, Immoral, AmoralMoralismMorality and Self-InterestMorality in a Natural WorldMorality, Moral Luck and ResponsibilityMorals, Rights and Practice in the Human ServicesMorals, Rights and Practice in the Human ServicesMore Than HumanMotive and RightnessMovies and the Moral Adventure of LifeMurder in the InnMy Body PoliticMy Brain Made Me Do ItMy Sister's KeeperMy Sister's KeeperMy WayNano-Bio-EthicsNarrative MedicineNarrative ProsthesisNatural Ethical FactsNatural-Born CybogsNaturalized BioethicsNeither Bad nor MadNeoconservatismNeonatal BioethicsNeurobiology and the Development of Human MoralityNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNew Takes in Film-PhilosophyNew Waves in EthicsNew Waves in MetaethicsNietzsche on Ethics and PoliticsNo Child Left DifferentNo Impact ManNormative EthicsNormativityNothing about us, without us!Oath BetrayedOf War and LawOn ApologyOn Being AuthenticOn EvilOn Human RightsOn The Stigma Of Mental IllnessOn the TakeOn Virtue EthicsOn What MattersOn What We Owe to Each OtherOne ChildOne Nation Under TherapyOur Bodies, Whose Property?Our Bodies, Whose Property?Our Daily MedsOur Faithfulness to the PastOur Posthuman FutureOut of EdenOut of Its MindOut of the ShadowsOverdosed AmericaOxford Handbook of Psychiatric EthicsOxford Textbook of Philosophy of PsychiatryPassionate DeliberationPatient Autonomy and the Ethics of ResponsibilityPC, M.D.Perfecting VirtuePersonal AutonomyPersonal Autonomy in SocietyPersonal Identity and EthicsPersonhood and Health CarePersons, Humanity, and the Definition of DeathPerspectives On Health And Human RightsPharmacracyPharmageddonPhilosophy and This Actual WorldPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of Technology: The Technological ConditionPhysician-Assisted DyingPicturing DisabilityPilgrim at Tinker CreekPlaying God?Playing God?Political EmotionsPornlandPowerful MedicinesPractical Autonomy and BioethicsPractical EthicsPractical Ethics for PsychologistsPractical RulesPragmatic BioethicsPragmatic BioethicsPragmatic NeuroethicsPraise and BlamePreferences and Well-BeingPrimates and PhilosophersPro-Life, Pro-ChoiceProcreation and ParenthoodProfits Before People?Progress in BioethicsProperty in the BodyProzac As a Way of LifeProzac on the CouchPsychiatric Aspects of Justification, Excuse and Mitigation in Anglo-American Criminal Law Psychiatric EthicsPsychiatry and EmpirePsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychology and Consumer CulturePsychology and LawPsychotropic Drug Prescriber's Survival GuidePublic Health LawPublic Health Law and EthicsPublic PhilosophyPunishing the Mentally IllPunishmentPursuits of WisdomPutting Morality Back Into PoliticsPutting on VirtueQuality of Life and Human DifferenceRaceRadical HopeRadical VirtuesRape Is RapeRe-creating MedicineRe-Engineering Philosophy for Limited BeingsReason's GriefReasonably ViciousReckoning With HomelessnessReconceiving Medical EthicsRecovery from SchizophreniaRedefining RapeRedesigning HumansReducing the Stigma of Mental IllnessReflections On How We LiveReframing Disease ContextuallyRefusing CareRefuting Peter Singer's Ethical TheoryRelative JusticeRelativism and Human RightsReligion ExplainedReprogeneticsRescuing JeffreyResponsibilityResponsibility and PsychopathyResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility from the MarginsResponsible GeneticsRethinking CommodificationRethinking Informed Consent in BioethicsRethinking Mental Health and DisorderRethinking RapeReturn to ReasonRevolution in PsychologyRightsRights, Democracy, and Fulfillment in the Era of Identity PoliticsRisk and Luck in Medical EthicsRobert NozickRousseau and the Dilemmas of Modernity Rule of Law, Misrule of MenRunning on RitalinSatisficing and MaximizingSchizophrenia, Culture, and SubjectivityScience and EthicsScience in the Private InterestScience, Policy, and the Value-Free IdealScience, Seeds and CyborgsScratching the Surface of BioethicsSecular Philosophy and the Religious TemperamentSeeing the LightSelf-ConstitutionSelf-Made MadnessSelf-Trust and Reproductive AutonomySentimental RulesSex Fiends, Perverts, and PedophilesSex OffendersSexual DevianceSexual EthicsSexual PredatorsSexualized BrainsShaping Our SelvesShock TherapyShould I Medicate My Child?ShunnedSick to Death and Not Going to Take It AnymoreSickoSide EffectsSidewalk StoriesSister CitizenSkeptical FeminismSocial Inclusion of People with Mental IllnessSocial JusticeSociological Perspectives on the New GeneticsSome We Love, Some We Hate, Some We EatSovereign VirtueSpiral of EntrapmentSplit DecisionsSticks and StonesStories MatterSubjectivity and Being SomebodySuffering, Death, and IdentitySuicide ProhibitionSurgery JunkiesSurgically Shaping ChildrenTaking Morality SeriouslyTaming the Troublesome ChildTechnology and the Good Life?TestimonyText and Materials on International Human RightsThe Aims of Higher EducationThe Almost MoonThe Altruistic BrainThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Forensic PsychiatryThe Animal ManifestoThe Art of LivingThe Autonomy of MoralityThe Beloved SelfThe Best Things in LifeThe Big FixThe Bioethics ReaderThe Biology and Psychology of Moral AgencyThe Blackwell Guide to Medical EthicsThe Body SilentThe BondThe Book of LifeThe Burden of SympathyThe Cambridge Companion to Virtue EthicsThe Cambridge Companion to Virtue EthicsThe Cambridge Textbook of BioethicsThe Case against Assisted SuicideThe Case Against PerfectionThe Case Against PunishmentThe Case for PerfectionThe Case of Terri SchiavoThe Challenge of Human RightsThe Code for Global EthicsThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe Common ThreadThe Connected SelfThe Constitution of AgencyThe Creation of PsychopharmacologyThe Criminal BrainThe Decency WarsThe Difficult-to-Treat Psychiatric PatientThe Disability PendulumThe Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to ConfrontationThe Domain of ReasonsThe Double-Edged HelixThe Duty to ProtectThe Emotional Construction of MoralsThe End of Ethics in a Technological SocietyThe End of Stigma?The Essentials of New York Mental Health LawThe Ethical BrainThe Ethical Dimensions of the Biological and Health SciencesThe Ethics of BioethicsThe Ethics of ParenthoodThe Ethics of SightseeingThe Ethics of the FamilyThe Ethics of the LieThe Ethics of TransplantsThe Ethics ToolkitThe Evolution of Mental Health LawThe Evolution of MoralityThe FamilyThe Fat Studies ReaderThe Forgiveness ProjectThe Form of Practical KnowledgeThe Fountain of YouthThe Freedom ParadoxThe Future of Assisted Suicide and EuthanasiaThe Future of Human NatureThe Good BookThe Good LifeThe Great BetrayalThe Handbook of Disability StudiesThe Healing VirtuesThe High Price of MaterialismThe History of Human RightsThe HorizonThe Idea of JusticeThe Ideal of NatureThe Illusion of Freedom and EqualityThe Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Importance of Being UnderstoodThe Insanity OffenseThe Joy of SecularismThe Language PoliceThe Last Normal ChildThe Last UtopiaThe Limits of MedicineThe LobotomistThe Love CureThe Lucifer EffectThe Manual of EpictetusThe Mark of ShameThe Meaning of NiceThe Medicalization of SocietyThe Merck DruggernautThe Mind Has MountainsThe Modern Art of DyingThe Modern SavageThe Moral ArcThe Moral BrainThe Moral Demands of MemoryThe Moral FoolThe Moral MindThe Moral Psychology HandbookThe Moral, Social, and Commercial Imperatives of Genetic Testing and ScreeningThe Most Good You Can DoThe Myth of ChoiceThe Myth of the Moral BrainThe Nature of NormativityThe New Disability HistoryThe New Genetic MedicineThe New Religious IntoleranceThe Offensive InternetThe Origins of FairnessThe Oxford Handbook of Animal EthicsThe Oxford Handbook of Ethics at the End of LifeThe Perfect BabyThe Philosophy of NeedThe Philosophy of PornographyThe Philosophy of PsychiatryThe Politics Of LustThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Power of Religion in the Public SphereThe Price of PerfectionThe Price of TruthThe Problem of PunishmentThe Prosthetic ImpulseThe Psychology of Good and EvilThe Psychology of Good and EvilThe PsychopathThe Purity MythThe Pursuit of PerfectionThe Relevance of Philosophy to LifeThe Right Road to Radical FreedomThe Right to Be ParentsThe Righteous MindThe Root of All EvilThe Rules of InsanityThe Second SexismThe Second-Person StandpointThe Silent World of Doctor and PatientThe Sleep of ReasonThe Social Psychology of Good and EvilThe Social Psychology of MoralityThe Social Psychology of MoralityThe Speed of DarkThe Stem Cell ControversyThe Stem Cell ControversyThe Story of Cruel and UnusualThe Story WithinThe Stubborn System of Moral ResponsibilityThe Suicide TouristThe Terrible GiftThe Theory of OptionsThe Therapy of DesireThe Trauma of Psychological TortureThe Trauma of Psychological TortureThe Triple HelixThe Trolley Problem MysteriesThe Trouble with DiversityThe Truth About the Drug CompaniesThe Ugly LawsThe Varieties of Religious ExperienceThe Virtues of HappinessThe Virtuous Life in Greek EthicsThe Virtuous PsychiatristThe Voice of Breast Cancer in Medicine and BioethicsThe War Against BoysThe War for Children's MindsThe Whole ChildThe Woman RacketThe Worldwide Practice of TortureTherapy with ChildrenThieves of VirtueThree Generations, No ImbecilesTimes of Triumph, Times of DoubtTolerance Among The VirtuesTolerance and the Ethical LifeTolerationToxic PsychiatryTrauma, Truth and ReconciliationTreatment Kind and FairTrusting on the EdgeTry to RememberUltimate JudgementUnborn in the USA: Inside the War on AbortionUndermining ScienceUnderstanding AbortionUnderstanding CloningUnderstanding EmotionsUnderstanding EvilUnderstanding Moral ObligationUnderstanding Physician-Pharmaceutical Industry InteractionsUnderstanding TerrorismUnderstanding the GenomeUnderstanding the Stigma of Mental IllnessUnderstanding Treatment Without ConsentUnhingedUnprincipled VirtueUnsanctifying Human Life: Essays on EthicsUnspeakable Acts, Ordinary PeopleUp in FlamesUpheavals of ThoughtUsers and Abusers of PsychiatryValue-Free Science?Values and Psychiatric DiagnosisValues in ConflictVegetarianismViolence and Mental DisorderVirtue EthicsVirtue, Rules, and JusticeVirtue, Vice, and PersonalityVirtues and Their VicesWar Against the WeakWar, Torture and TerrorismWarrior's DishonourWeaknessWelfare and Rational CareWhat Genes Can't DoWhat Is Good and WhyWhat Is Good and WhyWhat Is the Good Life?What Price Better Health?What Should I Do?What We Owe to Each OtherWhat Would Aristotle Do?What's Good on TVWhat's Normal?What's Wrong with Children's RightsWhat's Wrong with Homosexuality?What's Wrong With Morality?When Is Discrimination Wrong?Who Holds the Moral High Ground?Who Owns YouWho Qualifies for Rights?Whose America?Whose View of Life?Why Animals MatterWhy Animals MatterWhy I Burned My Book and Other Essays on DisabilityWhy Not Kill Them All?Why Punish? How Much?Why Some Things Should Not Be for SaleWisdom, Intuition and EthicsWithout ConscienceWomen and Borderline Personality DisorderWomen and MadnessWondergenesWould You Kill the Fat Man?Wrestling with Behavioral GeneticsWriting About PatientsYou Must Be DreamingYour Genetic DestinyYour Inner FishYouth Offending and Youth Justice Yuck!
If you put chimpanzees from different communities together you can expect mayhem - they are not keen on treating each other nicely. There is closely related species of apes, however, whose members have countless encounters with unrelated specimen on a daily basis and yet almost all get through the day in one piece - that species is us, homo sapiens. But what makes us get along, most of the time?
The first message of Fargas, Jussim, and Van Lange, the editors of this collection of essays on the social psychology of morality, is that we get along because we have the ability to think and act in terms of overarching moral rules; an ability they regard as one "defining hallmark[s] of our species", so much that we might as well be called "homo moralis," the moral man (1). Their second message is that social psychology occupies a "pivotal role" and a "privileged position" when it comes to understanding morality because the foundations of morality are based on "predominantly social concerns", such as fairness or loyalty (2). Their aim is to provide an "informative and interesting" overview of the current status of this "fascinating area of inquiry" (2, 16).
Morality as such is, perhaps surprisingly, not a mainstream research topic in social psychology. Most textbooks in the field do not even mention the term morality at all (and focus on 'prosociality' instead). This relative lack of 'coverage' might have to do with the difficulty of operationalising 'morality' in a fitting way (more on this below). However, morality certainly is a social phenomenon and therefore the collection of Fargas, Jussim, and Van Lange is certainly a step in the right direction; it offers an extensive overview of the field and is suggestive of the vast potential of studying morality through the lens of social psychology.
In the introduction, the editors provide useful background information about current social psychological perspectives on morality as well as brief summaries of the seventeen essays contained in the volume. The contributed essays are aimed at an academic, specialist audience and presuppose knowledge of technical terms from social psychology and, in some articles, a basic understanding of statistics. They are grouped under four headings: 'The Nature of Moral Values and Decisions,' 'Moral Aspects of Interpersonal Behaviour,' 'Ironic and Paradoxical Effects of Morality,' and finally 'Morality and Collective Behaviour.' Given the generality of these themes, the groupings are mostly justified but not very informative. For example, all chapters somehow relate to the 'Nature of Moral Values and Decisions' and obviously, this being social psychology, to the 'Moral Aspects of Interpersonal Behaviour' and to 'Morality and Collective Behaviour.' Aside from that, speaking about 'Ironic and Paradoxical Effects of Morality' suggests that chapters under this heading contain normative claims about certain outcomes being 'immoral,' 'ironic' or 'paradoxical,' which none of the essays actually does.
However, all chapters share a methodological commitment to study morality descriptively; that is, none tells you what you should do but rather how and why people like you behave, feel, or think about moral matters in social contexts in such-and-such ways. Most chapters address either of two major themes.
The first is the study of the influencing factors on overt moral behavior. Gawronski et al. use experimental designs based on the trolley-dilemma to examine how individual's action tendencies affect decisions in moral dilemmas ('Understanding Responses to Moral Dilemmas'). Simpson et al. lay the conceptual groundwork to study the interpersonal influences on moral behaviour by proposing testable hypotheses about the determinants of moral intuitions in intimate relationships ('A Relational Perspective of Social Influence on Moral Issues'). Galinsky & Lee review existing experimental findings of the contextual influences on decisions in economic games, arguing that perspective-taking in competitive contexts with conflicting interests leads to 'unethical' behaviour ('When Perspective Takers Turn Unethical'). Forgas studies outcomes in games from experimental economics, like the ultimatum or the dictator game, and shows persuasively that subjects induced with negative moods show less selfish behaviour, measured by the amount of resources they share with others ('Affective Influences on Moral Decisions'). Graziano & Schroeder speculate about possible determinants of prosociality ('Sin, Morality, and Opponent Motives for Prosocial Behavior'). Crockett presents a computational model of moral decisions, based on experiments with economic games, which models moral decisions on three parameters ('Computational Modeling of Moral Decisions'). Von Hippel et al. focus the determinants of leadership styles in groups and argue, based on a review of ethnographic and sociobiological findings, that the presence of inequality within a group leads to 'immoral' leadership styles ('Of Baboons and Elephants').
The second theme is the study of the origins and correlational determinants of covert moral rules. Laham & Corless employ exploratory factor analysis to determine the influence of threat-sensitivity on neuroticism, a personality trait often reported to influence the moral and political values of individuals ('Threat, Morality, and Politics'). Brandt et al. review existing studies and discuss the relation of self-concepts on moral convictions ('Moralization and Intolerance of Ideological Outgroups'). Psyzczynski argues that the origins of moral rules can be partly explained by terror-management theory ('God Save Us'). Firmer assesses how groups create moral idols to motivate and navigate the members of the group; an exemplary case of the pragmatic utility of adopting a moral system ('Groups Create Moral Superheroes to Defend Sacred Values'). Miller & Monin offer a fine conceptual analysis of two separate motivations to adhere to moral rules ('Moral Opportunities Versus Moral Tests').
The remaining contributions do not fit the two major themes: Cooper presents own experimental data and explains how social-psychological factors can lead people to confess to immoral acts – warning us that people can be lead to make self-incriminating confessions even if the stakes are very high ('Confessing To An Immoral Act'). Jussim et al. review research findings on controversial, normatively 'loaded' topics, like research on sex differences, and persuasively argue that moral rules can bias researchers in interpreting their findings ('Can High Moral Purposes Undermine Scientific Integrity?'). Fiedler takes the conduct of researchers in response to what he deems "haphazard standards and instructions" (218) about good scientific conduct as a test case for the explanatory power of Kohlberg's moral rationalism (cf. Kohlber & Hersh 1977) and Moral Foundations Theory (cf. Graham et al. 2013), arguing that neither fares very well in explaining this case ('Ethical Norms and Moral Values'). Haslam similarly applies social psychology on a meta-level as an explanation of what he calls 'concept creep': his review of the use of concepts like 'abuse' or 'bullying' shows that they are applied more phenomena and to milder instances of their original referents, which he explains in terms of an expansion of the 'moral circle' and an increased sensitivity to harm ('Concept Creep'). Bastian & Crimston assess what leads people to assign moral values to resources and infer practical implications of this manifest tendency ('The Moral Psychology of Resource Use').
Naturally, each of the seventeen individual chapters offers more than what I could briefly summarise here. Taken together, they form an impressive showcase of the manifold of topics related to morality that is now being approached, in a nuanced manner, with the tools of social psychology. Below I register a general concern about this approach and then highlight a contribution that exemplifies this error, as well as one that stands out for being exceptionally insightful and suggestive of further research.
My general concern is the menacing problem of operationalising what counts as moral when studying behaviour, convictions, or action-guiding rules. In short, we need to be careful about what we end up studying when we ask about moral behaviour and the variety of dissimilar, and thus potentially problematic, operationalisations of the concept found in this volume counsel caution about premature optimism. For instance, the seven essays that address influences on overt moral behaviour work with four different operationalisations of morality. 'Morality' is taken to be about actions or decisions taken in scenarios that involve bodily harm to other people (e.g. in the trolley dilemma); about selfish vs. unselfish behaviour in economic games, where keeping resources to yourself is dubbed 'selfish'; about group-serving vs. 'self-serving' behaviour in groups, where it is not clear what either concept amounts to; and finally about prosociality, understood as actions valued by others.
I have no qualms with counting considerations about harm as moral. However, why think that keeping all the money that you receive in a dictator game (where you are given, say, 10€ and are free to decide how much to give to someone else) is immoral? It is selfish, sure, but drawing valid conclusions about moral behaviour depends on whether we agree, on normative grounds, that we have a moral obligation to share almost unconditionally. Hence, it is certainly a challenge for those interested in research on morality to find out how empirically investigate morality, the real deal, and not just a masked version of, say, pro-sociality.
The problem with unclear terms is evident in the contribution of Galinsky and Lee. They argue that perspective taking (e.g. imagining the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of another person) can lead to "unethical" behaviour in competitive contexts (133). What they find is, roughly, that subjects who gauge the competitive intentions of their competitors are more likely to behave themselves competitively, too. What is 'unethical' about that? Galinsky and Lee do not seem to be quite sure either, and so they describe the apparent "immoral" (127) behaviour also in less-loaded terms such as "egoistically" (127), "selfish" (131), or "antisocial" (134). Arguably, however, something being 'antisocial,' understood along the lines of 'not welcome by other people', is quite different from being 'unethical' - particularly in competitive contexts. After all, everyone strives to do things unwelcome to their opponents, but few strive to behave unethically.
Moreover, even if we agree that perspective taking sometimes leads to unethical behaviour, that finding should not be surprising at all. The authors seem to be fighting a straw-men who, mistakenly, suggests that perspective taking always leads to moral behaviour, or, worse still, that perspective-taking is morally good in itself. But perspective taking in itself is normatively neutral: if you see a person with a face-mask and a knife entering a shop, you might gauge the criminal intentions and call the police or you might run away. But what is or isn't ethical in that situation is what you do after you 'took the perspective' of the would-be robber. Surely the authors would agree; and since they do not show that anyone actually believes that perspective taking itself is a "royal road to morality," their main claim is rather blunt (126).
In contrast, a contribution that struck me as exceptionally insightful and relevant is by Gawronski et al. Their findings challenge a widely held view about the determinants of utilitarian (outcome-based) and deontological (norm-based) decisions through careful consideration of the operationalisations used in experimental designs. They use an experimental design to study responses to the trolley dilemma: a trolley is on track to five number of people standing on the track and respondents have to decide about diverting the trolley to another track on which it would kill only one person (there are multiple variations of this basic scenario). Usually, switching tracks, that is killing one instead of five, is interpreted as making a 'utilitarian,' outcome-based decision. Not switching is taken to be a deontological decision, because, the reasoning goes, subjects judge that switching tracks would be akin to killing, which is proscribed by forceful norms. Many findings suggested that cognitive load, for instance having to memorise numbers during the task, increased the proportion of deontological judgements in trolley cases, which is part of the evidence for the claim that characteristically deontological judgements are based on emotional processes (e.g. Green 2008). However, Gawronski et al. included a check for general action tendencies (that is, whether subjects prefer to act or stay passive) in their experiments and found that a tendency for inaction often explained decisions that other researchers attributed to a preference for deontological moral judgements. In contrast to that, Gawronski et al. show that "limited cognitive resources influence moral judgements by inducing a general preference for inaction … rather than by disrupting utilitarian assessments of outcomes or deontological assessments of norm violations" (105), which should give some food for thought to fans of 'trolleyology.'
In conclusion: the book is well worth reading for anyone interested in empirical approaches to studying morality and for those who want to get an impression of the breadth of recent social psychological research on the matter. All chapters reward the reader with interesting insights, based both on new empirical data and novel reviews of existing findings. And while the problems mentioned above suggest that we should not be satisfied yet with social psychology assuming its role as "the core discipline for understanding morality," the editors certainly achieved their goal of showcasing the current status of social psychological research as "a thriving and productive field of inquiry" (16).
Graham J, Haidt J, Koleva S, Motyl M, Iyer R, Wojcik SP, Ditto PH (2013) Moral foundations theory: The pragmatic validity of moral pluralism. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 47:55–130
Greene JD (2008) The secret joke of Kant's soul. In: Sinnott-Armstrong W (ed) Moral psychology: The neuroscience of morality: Emotion, brain disorders, and development. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, pp 35–79
Haidt J (2001) The emotional dog and its rational tail: A social intuitionist approach to moral judgment. Psychological Review 108(4):814–834.
Kohlberg L, Hersh RH (1977) Moral Development: A review of the theory. Theory Into Practice 16:53-59 Kohlberg L, Hersh RH (1977) Moral Development: A review of the theory. Theory Into Practice 16:53-59
© 2016 Michael Klenk
Michael Klenk, Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.