The 'New Synthesis in Moral Psychology' versus Aristotelianism: Content and Consequences

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this chapter is to explore the social consequences of recent developments in moral psychology aimed at psychologizing morality: developments that Jonathan Haidt terms ‘the new synthesis’ (NS). As a prelude, I diagnose what in the content of the NS undergirds those consequences and how it differs from the Aristotelian alternatives with which it is commonly contrasted. More specifically, I explore the NS’s take on moral ontology, moral motivation, moral ecology and moral domains. In all cases, I deem the response offered by the NS to radical rationalism hyperbolic and argue that Aristotelianism provides a more plausible, if more moderate, alternative. In the final section, I address the putative social consequences of the NS, both general consequences for public conceptions of the moral life and more specific consequences for moral education at school. In both cases, I argue that the consequences of adopting the NS position range from the unfortunate to the outright pernicious.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDual-Process Theories in Moral Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Approaches to Theoretical, Empirical and Practical Considerations
EditorsCordula Brand
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783658120535
ISBN (Print)9783658120528
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


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