Moral Development and Moral Learning

The Monist 58 (4):541-567 (1974)
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Abstract

The most obvious way in which a philosopher can contribute to work on moral education is through work in ethics. Just as work in mathematical or scientific education could not get off the ground without a determinate idea of the structure of what has to be learnt in these spheres, so too a determinate notion of ‘morality’ is an essential precondition for any serious approach to moral education. It might be argued, too, that it is particularly important for philosophers to do this because of the covert way in which ethical assumptions are smuggled into empirical work in this field. Any psychological account of moral development or moral education must be from a particular standpoint in ethics; for the delimitation of ‘moral’ is not a neutral matter. Psychologists working within Piagetian, Freudian, or social learning frameworks are too apt to work with an implicit ethical position. The job of the philosopher is, therefore, to make such ethical positions explicit and to discuss the arguments that might be given for them.

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