UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Self-respect and moral education Oliver, Charlotte Rosalind Compton


This thesis examines the role of self-respect in moral education. The first chapter argues that there are three distinct senses of self-respect and that these senses pick out significantly different kinds of human attributes. The first kind of self-respect involves feeling worthwhile because one has adequate peer approval and is at least on a par with his peers overall in such things as occupational status, looks, wealth, and talents. The second kind of self-respect consists in feeling worthwhile because, by virtue of being a person, one has certain rights. It also includes treating oneself appropriately, for example, affirming one's rights. The third kind of self-respect is feeling worthwhile because one lives up to a moral value system with which he is satisfied. The second chapter attempts to show that failure to distinguish among the senses of self-respect has led to confusion in philosophical literature and uses two examples to demonstrate this—John Rawls' A Theory of Justice, and Elizabeth Downie and R. S. Telfer's Respect for Persons. Chapter three describes the ways in which the three senses of self-respect are important to moral education. It also critically examines a number of approaches to moral education, including values clarification, moral reasoning approaches based on the work of R. M. Hare, the moral components approach, the Kohlbergian approach and the character building approach, in order to determine how, if at all, these approaches address the problem of developing self-respect, and how they relate self-respect to other goals of moral education.

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