, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 649–676 | Cite as

An agent-oriented account of Piaget’s theory of interactional morality

  • Antônio Carlos da Rocha CostaEmail author
Open Forum


In this paper, we present a formal interpretive account of Jean Piaget’s theory of the morality that regulates social exchanges, which we call interactional morality. First, we place Piaget’s conception in the context of his epistemological and sociological works. Then, we review the core of that conception: the two types of interactional moralities (autonomous and heteronomous) that Piaget identified to be usual in social exchanges, and the role that the notion of respect-for-the-other plays in their definition. Next, we analyze the main features of social exchanges that are subject to each of those two types of interactional moralities. Following, we formalize Piaget’s account of how the two types of interactional moralities can be put to regulate social exchanges in which values, norms, beliefs, and goals are exchanged (besides objects and services), so that interactional commitments can be established among the participants. Then, we sketch a moral reasoning system able to support formal reasonings about interactional moralities. Finally, we illustrate the usefulness of the overall formal model of interactional moralities that resulted from our study by applying it to the explication of some of the conclusions achieved by Piaget in his moral studies about children games.


Formal notion of interactional morality Regulation of social exchanges Moral reasoning system Piaget’s moral studies of children games. 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PPGComp, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, FURGRio GrandeBrazil
  2. 2.PPGFIL, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, PUCRSPôrto AlegreBrazil

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