UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Peters on moral education Bruneau, Sandra Rochelle


Many teaching materials and analyses of morality and moral education are available to teachers and moral education researchers. Some of these materials and research strategies are based on analyses of moral judgment and behaviour. It is noteworthy that these teaching materials and discussions of morality and moral education do not acknowledge Richard Peters' recommendations for moral education. His discussions of morality and moral education have not yet resulted in curriculum materials; nor do individual research projects base their work on his point of view. Given Peters' esteemed place among philosophers of education, and given the comprehensiveness of his writing on moral education, this lack of attention is somewhat surprising. Are his views sound? Can they be interpreted for specific teaching practices and research-strategies? In this thesis, I have examined Peters' proposals for moral education. My aims were twofold: (1) to make clear his views on morality and moral education and to critically assess those views for their intelligibility and consistency, and (2) to indicate the sorts of educational practices and proposals for research which are at least consistent with his ideas. To do these tasks, I give an account of Peters' criteria of 'education' and survey his views on 'morality' and 'moral education.' I give particular attention to his "facets of the moral life": worthwhile activities, social rules, roles and duties, principles as motives, character-traits and virtues. In addition I make clear and assess the importance of other concepts which interest Peters: 'form,' 'content,' 'habit,' 'emotion.' Occasionally I compare Peters' conception of morality and moral education with the conceptions of other moral philosophers and educators; these comparisons assist in both explicating and criticizing Peters' work. Finally I further condense Peters' views in order to suggest leads to moral educators and researchers. I do this, first, by noting what constructive proposals come from Peters' account; second, by detailing those areas of his account which require more conceptual and empirical work; and third, by outlining specific projects for curriculum builders, teachers and researchers.

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