Moral Development and Reality: Beyond the Theories of Kohlberg and Hoffman explores the nature of moral development, social behavior, and human interconnectedness. By comparing, contrasting, and going beyond the works of pre-eminent theorists Lawrence Kohlberg and Martin Hoffman, author John C. Gibbs addresses fundamental questions: What is morality? Can we speak validly of moral development? Is the moral motivation of behavior primarily a matter of justice or of empathy? Does moral development, including moments of moral inspiration, reflect a deeper reality?   Moral Development and Reality elucidates the full range of moral development from superficial perception to a deeper understanding and feeling through social perspective-taking. Providing case studies and chapter questions, Gibbs creates a unique framework for understanding Kohlberg’s and Hoffman’s influential contributions.    

Beyond the Theories: A Deeper Reality?

Beyond the theories: A deeper reality?

As we have seen, growing beyond superficiality characterizes the primarily affective and primarily cognitive strands of the development toward mature moral perception and behavior. Consider first Hoffman's theory of the primarily affective (empathic) strand. According to Hoffman's theory, cognitive development, language acquisition, and socialization enable the child's empathic predisposition to evolve beyond simple attention to the surface cues of another's emotion and thereby to attain a deeper, more veridical caring for others. In Piaget's and Kohlberg's theories of the cognitive strand, that evolution beyond simple attention to surface cues is a constructive process leading to a decentered understanding of the intangible, ideal bases in mutuality for interpersonal relationships and society. In the related context ...

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