Addressing Social and Ecological Degradation through Education
Part II: Empathy and Morality
If we are to live in a world free from the threat of Holocausts, we will need to create it. If we can understand some of the attributes that distinguished rescuers from others, perhaps we can deliberately cultivate them. (Oliner & Oliner, 1988, p. xviii)
Part II explores the complex relationship between the development of an individual’s moral principles, the natural environment, and the social environment. Reciprocally, the environment shapes and is shaped by human reality. Moral development takes place in this dynamic environment and moderates an individual’s participation in, and construction of, social structure. Social and ecological degradation, as a single issue, are outcomes of the way we as individuals, as groups, and as a species, internalize or adapt and adjust social structures. An understanding of the moral development process as it relates to the process of socialization sheds light on the entire process, resulting in the degradation of Earth. Through an understanding of human morality, pedagogy for restoration begins to illuminate itself. This chapter begins by examining what may be evolutionary roots for human empathy and the potential pitfalls of such an approach and explores empathy, its possible evolutionary basis, and its limitations. Chapter 4 explores moral development and moral principles. Chapter 5 explores how and why people may act prosocially or antisocially as a result of their moral development. ← 31 | 32 →
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