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Lapsley and Narvaez 1 A Social-Cognitive Approach to the Moral Personality

By Daniel K. Lapsley, Darcia Narvaez, D. K. Lapsley, D. Narvaez (eds and Moral Development


In the last decade there has been a remarkable resurgence of interest in studying moral rationality within the broad context of personality, selfhood and identity. Although a concern with the moral self was never entirely absent from the cognitive developmental approach to moral reasoning (e.g., Blasi, 1983, 1984), it is fair to say that sustained preoccupation with the ontogenesis of justice reasoning did not leave much room for reflection on how moral cognition intersects with personological processes. There were both paradigmatic and strategic reasons for this. The paradigmatic reason can be traced to the Piagetian roots of moral developmental theory. Piaget’s understanding of intelligence was profoundly influenced by his training as a biologist, by his work as a naturalist, and his interest in the differential classification of species (especially mollusks) on the basis of morphological variation. Just as the classification of various biological species into zoological categories is based on formal structural characteristics, so too are certain structural characteristics critical to the differential classification of children’s thinking. The young Piaget who had, as a naturalist, collected and classified specimens ofLapsley and Narvaez 2 mollusks is continuous with older Piaget who, as a genetic epistemologist, collected an

Year: 2013
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