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Morality and Privilege

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image of Journal of Moral Philosophy

This paper discusses, from a moral psychology perspective, the putative fact that many people's socio-economic status makes it difficult for them to live what their philosophical thinking suggests is a fully moral life—an under-appreciated fact, or better phenomenon, that I call 'culturo-socio-divergence'. Section 1 explicates my distinction between 'culture' (the philosophical thinking of one's time) and 'society' (socio-economic conditions). Section 2 highlights some ways in which the culture and society in America can be seen as divergent, and section 3 discusses the significance of this divergence for moral psychology, linking the experience of culturo-socio-divergence with that of both guilt and shame. Finally, section 4 sketches this paper's implications for future research.


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