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In support of the cognitive-developmental approach to moral education: a response to David Carr

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David Carr (2002) has argued against the use of developmental theories as a basis for curriculum development in moral education. Although we find common ground with some aspects of Carr's arguments, we disagree with several of his criticisms of the cognitive-developmental approach to moral education. He confuses romantic ideology (as espoused by Rousseau and others) and progressive ideology (as espoused by Dewey and others); he assumes that developmental theories have no endpoint or final goal from which to structure moral education; and he argues against the use of psychological inquiry to validate a philosophical ought. This paper is an attempt to clarify Carr's arguments and propose a justification for the developmental approach to moral education.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Nevada USA

Publication date: 2004-06-01

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