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The good soldier: dynamics of moral judgment among Israeli reserve soldiers and conscientious objectors within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Baillie, Donna (2015) The good soldier: dynamics of moral judgment among Israeli reserve soldiers and conscientious objectors within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

There is extensive empirical evidence which suggests that moral judgment involves not only rational assessment, but also cognitive processes involving emotion, biases, and intuitions which can at times conflict with rationality. Nowhere is the understanding of such dynamics of more importance than in situations of seemingly intractable conflict, such as that between Israel and the Palestinians. My original contribution to such understanding is twofold. First, in applying Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) to analysis of the real-world, situated experiences of Israeli reserve soldiers and conscientious objectors within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I (a) identify differences along the liberal-conservative continuum in the selective application of the moral foundations relating to harm and fairness, and (b) critique the structural relationship between the fairness and loyalty moral foundations as currently presented within MFT. Second, using both qualitative and experimental research, I present evidence in support of a proposed cognitive bias not currently in the literature which can affect moral judgment: the influence of competent performance on assessment of actor morality. As individuals and as members of collectives we are responsible for making moral judgments. But cognitive biases, intuitions, and emotional responses can colour our perceptions in ways that can, in the case of intergroup conflicts, sometimes prove catastrophic. In highlighting (a) the relationship between political ideology and intuitive responses to violations of harm- and fairness-based moral foundations, and (b) how competent performance can influence assessment of actor morality, this research makes a small contribution to our understanding of what are necessarily incredibly complex dynamics around moral judgment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Donna Baillie
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Government
Departments > Social Psychology
Supervisor: Gillespie, Alex and Alexander, J. McKenzie
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3321

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