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Putting emotion into the self: a response to the 2008 Journal of Moral Education Special Issue on moral functioning

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This paper takes as its starting point the Journal of Moral Education Special Issue (September, 2008, 37[3]) 'Towards an integrated model of moral reasoning'. Although explicitly post-Kohlbergian, the authors in this Special Issue do not, I argue, depart far enough from Kohlberg's impoverished notion of the role of the affective in moral life—or when they do so depart, they incorporate emotions as mere intuitive thrusts in an essentially polarised two-system view of the moral self. Prior to that complaint, I sketch an account of two contrasting self-paradigms: a 'dominant' cognitive, anti-realist (constructivist) paradigm and an 'alternative' realist and emotion-based one. I explore the implications of the latter paradigm, which I endorse, for our understanding of the 'emotional self': a self imbued with and constituted by (potentially rationally grounded) emotions. I finally contrast that understanding with the one permeating the Special Issue and elicit some educational implications of the alternative paradigm.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03057240903101374

Affiliations: University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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