ERIC Number: EJ865646
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
Taking Development Seriously: Critique of the 2008 "JME" Special Issue on Moral Functioning
Gibbs, John C.; Moshman, David; Berkowitz, Marvin W.; Basinger, Karen S.; Grime, Rebecca L.
Journal of Moral Education, v38 n3 p271-282 Sep 2009
This essay comments on articles comprising a "Journal of Moral Education" Special Issue (September, 2008, 37). The issue was intended to honour the 50th anniversary of Lawrence Kohlberg's doctoral dissertation and his subsequent impact on the field of moral development and education. The articles were characterised by the Issue editor (Don Collins Reed) as providing a "look forward" from Kohlberg's work toward a more comprehensive or integrated model of moral functioning. Prominent were culturally pluralist and biologically-based themes, such as cultural learning; expert skill; culturally shaped and neurobiologically-based predispositions or intuitions; and moral self-relevance or centrality. Inadequately represented, however, was Kohlberg's (and Piaget's) key concept of development as the construction of a deeper or more adequate understanding not reducible to particular socialisation practices or cultural contexts. Also neglected were related cognitive-developmental themes, along with supportive evidence. Robert Coles' account of a sudden rescue is used as a heuristic to depict Piaget's/Kohlberg's approach to the development of moral functioning. We conclude that, insofar as the Special Issue does not take development seriously, it moves us not forward but, instead, back to the problems of moral relativism and moral paralysis that Kohlberg sought to redress from the start of his work more than 50 years ago.
Descriptors: Ethical Instruction, Doctoral Dissertations, Moral Development, Reader Response, Cognitive Development, Developmental Psychology, Rhetorical Criticism, Models, Educational Theories, Educational Philosophy
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A