Ethics and Attachment : How We Make Moral Judgments book cover
1st Edition

Ethics and Attachment
How We Make Moral Judgments

ISBN 9781138079786
Published October 12, 2018 by Routledge
282 Pages

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Book Description

Why are we disgusted when an elderly woman is robbed but sympathize with the actions of a Robin Hood? Why do acts of cruelty against a helpless kitten bother us more than does the trampling of ants? 

In Ethics and Attachment: How We Make Moral Judgments, psychoanalyst and philosopher Aner Govrin offers the attachment approach to moral judgment, an innovative new model of the process involved in making such moral judgments. 

Drawing on clinical findings from psychoanalysis, neuroscience and developmental psychology, the author argues that infants' experience in the first year of life provides them with the basic tools needed to reach complex moral judgments later in life. With reference to Winnicott and Bowlby, the author examines how attachments affect our abilities to apply to make moral decisions.

With its wholly new ideas about moral judgments, Ethics and Attachment will be of great interest to ethics and moral philosophy scholars, law students, and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Why we need a new psychology? Chapter 2 Morality and early interactions – main theories Chapter 3 The moral skills of infants Chapter 4 The building blocks of moral judgment Chapter 5 Decoding moral situations Chapter 6 Variance and consistency in moral judgment Chapter 7 The like-me criterion and turned-off dyads Chapter 8 The Prototype of evil Epilogue

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Aner Govrin is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst and a director of a doctoral program in the Program for Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. He is a member of Tel Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis (TAICP).


"Ethics and Attachment: How we Make Moral Judgments is brilliant. Every scholar and researcher concerned with the psychology of morality should read this scientifically sound, theoretically innovative, and gracefully written volume. While applying insights from psychoanalysis, attachment theory, and neuroscience into the morality field, it opens up new avenues of research on the contribution of child's attachment experiences to moral judgments later in life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as both an attachment researcher and a person concerned with moral wrongs and the promotion of a more just and harmonious world."-Mario Mikulincer, Professor of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzlyia, Israel

"Govrin explores a revolutionary thesis with tight logic and irrefutable evidence, revealing that even our most complex moral judgments have a surprisingly simple beginning—the dyad of caregiver and infant. Through discussions that range from psychology to philosophy, ethics to evolution, Govrin leaves little doubt that he is a true scholar of morality, and that the elegant "Attachment Approach" to morality helps explain much about our judgments of good and evil. A must-read for anyone interested in moral psychology."-Kurt Gray, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA 

"Drawing on sources as diverse as psychoanalysis and neuroscience as well as philosophy and attachment theory, Dr. Govrin discerns in the earliest years of life the basic cognitive and affective structures undergirding the complexity of moral life. He combines a careful analysis of moral conflicts with a sensitive and thorough exploration of how we evaluate them, both consciously and unconsciously. Ethics and Attachment: How We Make Moral Judgments is a masterpiece of creativity and scholarly integration that will be required reading for anyone interested in the psychology of moral judgment."-Ronald C. Naso, Ph.D., ABPP, psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist in independent practice, Stamford, CT, USA; current President, American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis