The Spontaneous Emergence of Morality

Jean Piaget had some very interesting ideas. He wasn’t a developmental psychologist, he didn’t even regard himself as a psychologist. He wanted to reconcile science and religion. That’s what he was doing throughout his entire life, because it drove him crazy when he was an adolescent. And he didn’t think that he would be able to survive unless he could bring those two things together.

He also got very interested in the spontaneous emergence of morality in the play of children. The idea is that when kids come together and unify themselves towards a particular goal (in play) that a morality emerges. And further, each game that children play holds it’s own morality.  So, there’s a morality in game one, there’s a morality in game two, there’s a morality in game three. What’s common across all those moralities is a meta-morality.

The meta-morality emerges from the particular moralities that are embedded in particular cooperative situations.

Dr. Jordan Peterson

I would like add some comments to Dr. Peterson’s remarks based on my own observations of child behavior. Private property rights are inherent in all of us. We’re are all hard-wired for it, and begin asserting these rights as soon as we learn to speak.

What is one of the first words and concepts a small child expresses? It’s not OURS, it’s not YOURS, and it’s not THEIRS. It’s MINE. The child is expressing and asserting his or her private property rights. As the child gets older, hopefully he will learn that private property rights apply to everyone, and will later grasp words and concepts like ours, yours, and theirs.

The Artful Dilettante, Keeper of the Flame of The Enlightenment

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