Re: Ch. 5: Beyond WEIRD Morality
Yes, I have noticed a critical process in your posts as well as others, from the beginning of this series. The apparent original choice to reference a critical review helps with that. The book is so much of a landmark that going over it again should indicate an interest in re-thinking the insights and presentation, and I have been glad to have the observations that others bring. I agree that harm and fairness have advantages in terms of innate perceptions that this is what moral judgment "means", so that the WEIRD analysis of what is "really going on" with moral perception tends to reinforce our most basic sense of how morality works.
Yes, I think that is really insightful. Relativistic cautions can be helpful for broadening the scope of our ability to communicate across cultural boundaries, which I think is becoming a more obvious problem with global warming and concern over immigration becoming salient issues of divisiveness.
I wouldn't use "brainwash" myself, since FGM and other processes using amoral means for supposedly moral ends are inevitably combining many strands of social moralism and children (or adolescents) pull together a picture of how those strands fit together, rather than mindlessly adopting whatever society tells them must be true.
I will give this some thought. I took it that he was downplaying the role of moral reflection because he wants to highlight the value of his "raw data" approach, which *is* useful in my opinion. But there may be more to it, and a subtler agenda, at work.
It's a devilishly complex topic, which has vexed every culture since culture manifested itself in writing, and probably before that as well. But putting Kant's inflexible analysis into a category of social impairment is certainly a drastic step that needs much more thought than Haidt is inclined to bring to such philosophical questions. In Christianity we have a framework for this question, the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, which is almost koan-like in its raising a question without being able to state a clear answer. Do we endorse Righteousness (which, in the original Hebrew I am told was the same word as Justice) or Penitent Self-Criticism? Which raises the question whether Haidt is dismissing the question with an appeal to pragmatic acceptance of people's self-duplicity. To a Christian this is putting the cart of forgiveness ahead of the horse of remorse.
Yes, this is the key to why we should read the book and how we should integrate it with other considerations, in my view. I think you have said it well.