ERIC Number: ED380322
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Reference Count: N/A
Snarks: Durkheim's Search for a Unifying Morality.
Lockwood, John H.
This paper discusses the work of Emile Durkheim and his interest in developing a science of ethics that would enable the social sciences to guide social and political policy. One of his main policy interests was education, specifically the construction of moral values. Durkheim proposed a secular approach to morality and moral education. Moral education for Durkheim consisted of the formation of three elements: (1) discipline, to be built upon a child's natural enjoyment of order; (2) autonomy, or self-determination, that assumes that morality will be followed freely if the child knows the reason behind the rule; and (3) attachment, based on the predisposition that makes a devotion to collectively shared goals possible, the child's faculty of empathy. Durkheim's approach to moral education is based on real life in three respects: (1) each aspect is based on the scientific knowledge of the child's innate predispositions rather than religious appeals; (2) the aspects take note of the real social environment that surrounds the child; and (3) the child spurns indoctrination and opts for a more realistic approach that considers the real thought processes of a growing organism. Because students come from a variety of backgrounds, there are many ways to approach the teaching of morality and many moralities. Durkheim saw science as the way to deal with the challenge of diversity. Identifying moral facts became the key to Durkheim's scientific enterprise. Once these facts were identified, a general law of ethics could be determined, and a science of ethics would be at hand. (DK)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A