IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Is there a distinction between morality and convention?


  • Robert Sugden

    (University of East Anglia)


In Humean analyses of the emergence and stability of moral rules, ideas of justice and reciprocity originate in non-moral, conventional solutions to conflicts of interest in human interaction. This theory seems contrary to an empirical claim made by some developmental psychologists: that, from early childhood, human beings perceive a distinction between (universal) ‘moral' and (relative) ‘conventional' rules, and that moral rules apply to matters of welfare, fairness and trust. I review the psychological literature and argue that, properly understood, it is compatible with a Humean analysis of morality.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Sugden, 2008. "Is there a distinction between morality and convention?," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 08-01, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  • Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:08-01

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:08-01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Theodore Turocy). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.