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ERIC Number: EJ887085
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0002-4805
Building on Treacherous Ground: Sense-of-Purpose Research and Demarcating Problematic Purposes
Waddington, David I.
Alberta Journal of Educational Research, v56 n1 p82-94 Spr 2010
Developmental psychologist Damon's (Damon, Menon, & Cotton Bronk, 2003) ongoing research program on youth purpose may have important practical implications for education. However, in the course of the development of this research, two fundamental conceptual questions have not yet been resolved satisfactorily: (a) How should "sense of purpose" be defined? and (b) How can one distinguish between noble and ignoble purposes? A careful examination of Damon et al.'s (2003) approach to these two questions is conducted, and some significant shortcomings in the analysis are pointed out. Specifically, Damon et al.'s definition of purpose is shown to be idiosyncratic, and some defects are pointed out in the criteria offered to differentiate between noble and ignoble purposes. In conclusion, an alternative approach to demarcating purpose is offered that relies on Erikson's (1968) concept of totalized identity.
University of Alberta, Faculty of Education. 845 Education Centre South, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G5, Canada. Tel: 780-492-7941; Fax: 780-492-0236; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A