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Moral principles and moral education Parkinson, Shirley Lorraine

Abstract

Most writers on moral education see moral principles as central to that enterprise. The aim of moral education is to produce moral persons and that, it is believed, is achieved by getting students to grasp, or to develop, moral principles. It is important, therefore, for anyone engaged in moral education, or for anyone developing or assessing programs of moral education, to have a clear understanding of just what moral principles are. This paper is an attempt to become clearer about what moral principles are and in what ways they are important to moral education. The approach taken consists in first considering the theory of moral development put forward as a basis of moral education by Professor Lawrence Kohlberg who has to date, done the most extensive work in this area. Second, the question 'What is a moral principle?' is examined at length and arguments presented for the view that there are two distinct and equally important senses of moral principle. In the light of this examination a critique is offered of Professor Kohlberg's account of the nature of moral principles. Finally, consideration is given to the task of moral education.

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