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ERIC Number: ED354088
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-May
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Children's Moral Relationships with Nature.
Kahn, Peter H., Jr.; McCoy, Ann
Two studies of the development of children's moral relationships with nature addressed such questions as: (1) What does it mean to say that we have an obligation not to harm the natural environment? (2) Does the natural environment feel pain? (3) Does it have rights? or (4) Is moral obligation an inappropriate construct by which to understand the moral relation of humans with nature? In one study, 60 children in grades 2, 5, and 8 were interviewed about the Prince William Sound Oil Spill. In a second study, 72 children in grades 1, 3, and 5 in an impoverished inner-city black community were interviewed on their conceptions of and values about nature. The preliminary findings from these studies provide evidence for several overarching ways in which children reason about the natural environment: (1) homocentric reasoning, in which an appeal is made to the child's understanding of how the action of one person or group harms the physical welfare of others, or infringes on others' rights: the natural environment acts as an intermediary; (2) intrinsic values and rights reasoning, which highlights the idea that the natural environment has a moral standing at least partly independent of its value as a human commodity; (3) relational reasoning, which consists of framing the relationship with animals in a homocentric way such that animals serve human psychological needs; and (4) conceptions of harmony with nature that follow syllogistic reasoning. The findings build on children's obligatory and discretionary moral judgments and respond to two different questions on moral theory: What does morally right action consist of? and, What does it mean to be a morally good person? (HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A