ERIC Number: ED173779
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Values Clarification: A Case of Doublespeak.
Caldwell, Robert L.
The major premise of this paper is that the values clarification approach to moral issues is a form of doublespeak based on flawed thinking. Following an examination of examples of doublespeak, the paper discusses the concept of subjectivity in "Teaching As a Subversive Activity," by N. Postman and C. Weingartner, arguing that their claim that "all judgments are subjective" is conceptually confused. It then analyzes the writings of proponents of the values clarification approach to show that the approach is based on the thesis of moral subjectivity--that there are no right or wrong answers; that whatever people want is right for them--but that in practice the moral intuitions of these proponents propel them in a different, conflicting direction. It also argues that the values clarification method appears to be a way of avoiding moral issues rather than of tackling them, notes that the refusal to accept moral language on its own terms is characteristic of much contemporary writing aimed at teachers, and points to inconsistencies in such writings that suggest serious flaws in the theories that generate them. It concludes that subjectivism is unacceptable and incoherent and that the main problem with the values clarification approach is not that it makes a number of moral mistakes but that it lacks a mastery of the conceptual structure of the language in which such mistakes are possible. (GT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (68th, Kansas City, Missouri, November 23-25, 1978)