Competing Values Homework
Read this article first: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/03/how-to-win-the-culture-war-sell-a-better-version-of-economic-fairness/274409/?single_page=true
Competing Values Homework
Important Note: You will need to this article prior to completing this assignment. Note that I’m less concerned with the discussion of politics, parties, and the culture wars, and more concerned with the discussion of moral foundations theory, particularly the differing perceptions of fairness and liberty.
300 to about 600 words, submitted online to the ANGEL dropbox as a .doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf, or .pdf file. (Please submit as an attachment, rather than via the text box.) Submitting in another file format (such as .wpf, .wps, .pages, or a Google Doc) will result in a zero. Please use paragraphs to organize your ideas. Submissions of a single long paragraph will only earn half credit.
If you only reference the article on moral foundations theory you don’t need a works cited list for this assignment.
First, briefly reflect on Haidt’s six moral foundations—and especially the two competing perspectives on fairness and liberty—in light of your own approach to moral reasoning: Do you see yourself somewhere within this framework? Does it allow you to describe your views well, or not? Why or why not?
Then, identify and explore a social issue on which:
you have a firm, well justified opinion
many of your friends or acquaintances hold a significantly different opinion
(Although not a requirement, the assignment works especially well if it’s an opinion where you know you’re in the minority: e.g., vegetarianism is better, in vitro fertilization is unethical, “sweatshops” are good. Any social issue can work, though–but I’d probably stay away from abortion, guns, and gay rights.) In your exploration, draw explicit connections between the reasons you hold the opinion and the specific moral foundation you see as upholding that belief. For example, you might believe in vegetarianism because of the values of sanctity and care, and then would explain why these are relevant supporting moral foundations.
Finally, explore the moral foundations of those who believe something different than you about the same issue. Do this by putting yourself in their shoes: How might they describe the moral foundation for their position? Which value(s) would they identify with, and why could that be reasonable? Assume that these other people are well informed and sincere in their belief. (In other words, try to understand the very best of the others’ view, not a “straw man” version of their argument.)
As a result of completing the reading and writing assignment above, you should have a better understanding of how people reason morally about social issues, as well as an understanding of how your own perspectives are informed by a fairly consistent moral framework (an ideology).
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