Advertisement

Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The contribution of schools to moral development: A working paper in the theory of action

  • 61 Accesses

  • 11 Citations

Abstract

In what is essentially a working paper, an ideal typical and analytical concept of moral action is derived from the general theory of action. The concept is described in terms of the pattern-variable scheme, with moral action seen as involving the choices of affective neutrality, quality, universalism, and diffuseness.

This model of moral action is then used to hypothesize an end state of moral development. The definition of this end state involves the specification of the analytical choices to the human condition, which is a given of all human action and the most universal point of reference for moral action in relation to human communities. The full development of moral action is thus seen to involve the capacity for involvement with others as whole persons; for relating to people in terms of their humanity; for respecting the moral autonomy and liberty of others; and for resolving moral issues by reasoning, which implies flexibility in relation to specific situations.

A major part of the paper is devoted to an examination of some social structural features of schools, indicating the considerable extent to which schools ordinarily inhibit the development of such moral capacities in children.

Résumé

Dans ce texte destiné essentiellement à la discussion, on a abouti, en se fondant sur la théorie générale de l'action, a un concept analytique de l'acte moral. Sa description y est présentée en fonction de la typologiepattern-variable où l'acte moral fait intervenir, entre autres choix, la neutralité affective, la qualité, l'universalité, et le rayonnement.

Ce modèle d'action morale sert ensuite à établir l'hypothèse d'un état final du développement moral. La définition de cet état final comporte l'énoncé précis des choix analytiques en fonction de la condition humaine, élément constitutif de tout acte humain et le point de report le plus universel quand il s'agit de l'acte moral par rapport aux groupements humains. On voit ainsi que le développement maximum de l'acte moral comporte l'aptitude à collaborer avec les autres à titre de personnes entières, à considérer les gens sous leur aspect humain, à respecter l'autonomie morale et la liberté des autres, et à résoudre les problèmes d'ordre moral par le raisonnement, ce qui présuppose de la souplesse en face de cas particuliers.

Une partie importante du texte est consacrée à certains aspects de la structure sociale des écoles et fait voir dans quelle forte mesure ces institutions entravent habituellement le développement des ces facultés morales chez l'enfant.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. ADORNO, T. W., FRENKEL-BRUNSWICK, E., LEVINSON, D. J., & SANFORD, R. N. (Eds.)The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper, 1950.

  2. BELLAH, R. N. Religious evolution.American Sociological Review, 1964,29, 358–374.

  3. COLEMAN, J. S., & CAMPBELL, E. Q.Equality of educational opportunity. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966.

  4. DREEBEN, R.On what is learned in school. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1968.

  5. FRIEDENBERG, E. Z.Coming of age in America. New York: Random House, 1963.

  6. GEERTZ, C. The integrative revolution: Primordial sentiment and civil politics in the new states. In C. Geertz (Ed.),Old societies and new nations. New York: Free Press, 1963. Pp. 105–157.

  7. HARE, R. M.The language of morals. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952.

  8. HOFFMAN, M. L. Parent practices and moral development: Generalizations from empirical research.Child Development, 1963,34, 295–318.

  9. KOHLBERG, L. Stage and sequence: The cognitive-developmental approach to socialization. In D. Goslin (Ed.),Handbook of socialization. New York: Rand-McNally, 1968. Pp. 347–480.

  10. MACCOBY, E. E. The development of moral values and behavior in childhood. In J. A. Clausen (Ed.),Socialization and society. Boston: Little, Brown, 1968. Pp. 227–269.

  11. PARSONS, T. Evolutionary universals in society.American Sociological Review, 1964,29, 339–357. (a)

  12. PARSONS, T.Social structure and personality. New York: Free Press, 1964. (b)

  13. PARSONS, T.Societies: Evolutionary and comparative perspectives. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966.

  14. PARSONS, T.Sociological theory and modern society. New York: Free Press, 1967.

  15. PARSONS, T. On the concept of value-commitments.Sociological Inquiry, 1968,38, 135–159. (a)

  16. PARSONS, T. Interaction. InInternational encyclopedia of the social sciences. New York: Macmillan and Free Press, 1968. Pp. 429–441. (b)

  17. PARSONS, T., & BALES, R. F.Family, socialization and interaction process. Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1955.

  18. PARSONS, T., & SHILS, E. A. (Eds.)Toward a general theory of action. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1951.

  19. PARSONS, T., SHILS, E. A., NAGAELE, K., & PITTS, J. R. (Eds.)Theories of society. New York: Free Press, 1961.

  20. PECK, R. F., & HAVIGHURST, R. J.The psychology of character development. New York: Wiley, 1962.

  21. SEARS, R. R., MACCOBY, E. E., & LEVIN, H.Patterns of child rearing. Evanston, Ill.: Row, Peterson, 1957.

  22. SLATER, P. E. On social regression.American Sociological Review, 1963,28, 339–364.

  23. SMELSER, N. J.Theory of collective behaviour. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1962.

  24. SPADY, W. G. Educational mobility and access: Growth and paradoxes.American Journal of Sociology, 1967,73, 273–286.

Download references

Additional information

This article will be published in C. Beck, B. Crittenden, & E. V. Sullivan (Eds.),Moral education: Interdisciplinary approaches, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970, and is printed here with the kind permission of the University of Toronto Press.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Loubser, J.J. The contribution of schools to moral development: A working paper in the theory of action. Interchange 1, 99–117 (1970). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02214315

Download citation

Keywords

  • Analytical Concept
  • Moral Development
  • Human Community
  • Moral Issue
  • Moral Action