Addressing Social and Ecological Degradation through Education
Chapter 4. Morality
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The development of empathy and its relation to guilt, in consideration of empathic bias, and contemporaneous cognitive development shape one’s moral development (Hoffman, 2000). According to one’s experience, throughout the empathy and moral development process one’s sense of morality may differ significantly from others. Thus, it is useful to disambiguate morality into distinctly philosophical and psychological components. The psychological component relates to how one’s sense of morality develops and the philosophical component relates to the nature of morality (Kahn, 1999). Hoffman (2000) generally proceeded without such disambiguation and favors a psychological approach to morality focused on development. According to Hoffman (2000), one’s philosophic concept of morality is significantly a result of socialization in the moral development process (following David Hume).1
I proceed with Hoffman’s (2000) framework for morality, which provides significant depth and insight, but it will be useful to begin with a brief exploration of morality as a more distinctly deontological idea. Kahn (1999) considered morality more philosophically than did Hoffman (2000) and suggested that morality is objective (Immanuel Kant as interpreted by Eliot Turiel). Kahn (1999) defined two categories of moral judgments: obligatory moral judgments and discretionary moral judgments. Obligatory judgments ← 55 | 56 → are defined as (1) universally applicable to all morally similar situations; (2) not contingent on societal rules, laws, or conventions; and (3) justified by principles such as fairness, justice, welfare, or rights. However, Kahn (1999) did not ignore cultural context in the...
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