Moral Insanity

  • Robert W. Rieber
  • Aaron S. Carton
Part of the Cognition and Language book series (CALS)


The pedagogical reform taking hold in a majority of European countries and in America is nurtured to a significant degree by certain psychological conceptions and theories. Pedagogy faces still another pressing problem, namely, the problem of “moral insanity.” This problem is now being reexamined theoretically and practically both in Western Europe and in America on the basis of a common psychological premise. The English term for moral deficiency expresses the most extreme view of this condition as an organic illness (literally; moral insanity, or madness). All children who have exhibited amoral behavior and who have violated generally accepted moral norms have come under the conception of moral insanity. This includes juvenile prostitutes, delinquents, homeless and neglected children, and so on. Over a period of time, the insubstantiality of this conception of moral madness and ethical deficiency (its milder stage) has been sufficiently exposed from all sociological, psychological, psychopathological and pedagogical angles.


Pedagogical Reform Moral Norm Psychological Conception Juvenile Delinquent English Term 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Rieber
    • 1
  • Aaron S. Carton
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Bureau of Educational EvaluationGarden CityUSA
  3. 3.State University of New York at Stony Brook (Emeritus)Stony BrookUSA

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