1: Values and Moral Principles
-morality can have an effect on various aspects of a person’s preference (ex. voting, religion, etc.)
-when does good mean functionally good (ex. a good table) and morally good (ex. a “good” person)?
2. Moral judgements: creative
-we are able to generate moral judgements about all kinds of things (whether actions are permissible or
3. What is the nature of moral knowledge?
-based on specific values/rules or general principles?
-when we’re confronted with a moral problem, how do we solve it?
-do we apply general principles?
4. Why do we act morally?
-why do we bother to follow moral knowledge?
-you could know something is wrong, but it doesn’t prevent us from doing it
-pure altruistic motive? Or thinking for ourselves?
-by paying attention to norms of a certain group?
5. How do we get our moral knowledge?
-EITHER: moral knowledge innate, or learned from people around us
-in everything we’re going to look at, what the researchers look at is entirely determined by what they
take to be moral knowledge
6. Piagetian study of moral development
-moral reasoning is just a special way of reasoning about conventions
-conventions made by groups of people -no absolute morality!
-2 stages of moral reasoning: hetereonomous and autonomous
8. Development of thinking about rules
-heteronomous stage (moral realism) – rules are absolute; they can`t be changed!
-autonomous stage (moral relativism) – new rules are just as fair as the other rules; rules can be
changed as long as it preserves the spirit of the rules that existed before; the reason why it is ok is
because rules are social conventions (social behaviour agreed upon by a group of people; so if everyone
agrees on it, it is fine)
9. Causes for heteronomous thinking
-kids at heteronomous level are 3-5 years old (preschool)
-kids see their parents as having total authority over them, leading kids to have unquestioning respect to
-social factor of the nature of the interaction of children; interacts are with people that have way more
power than they do, which affects the way they think of what is morally acceptable and what isn’t
10. Formal vs. Concrete Operations
-concrete operational: focus on events that actually happened
Formal operational: can imagine other possibilities (what might happen, etc.)
11. Causes of heteronomous thinking
-still in concrete operational stage; they just think the way it is now (the current rules) are the only way
it can exist
12. Transition to autonomous morality
-as children get older, more and more of their interactions are with peers (rather than just parents)
-these interactions are more egalitarian (not clear who has more power than other people) -involve reciprocal exchange (i’ll give you something if you give me something in return)
-get better at seeing other people’s perspective
-can imagine alternative possibilities (different ways things can go); therefore, they can think of different
ways rules can be made (they can be changed as long as they are agreed upon by the group)
13. How morality changes and develops
-change in moral reasoning due to interaction between social and cognitive factors
-if you want to educate kids so they are competent moral thinkers, teaching them particular values is
not the way to go; teaching them to memorize the 10 commandments and respect your elders will not
have any effect
-allow students to use moral problem solving (think deeply about what morality is)
-better to reason than to memorize a bunch of values
14. Lawrence Kohlberg
-motivated by trying to figure out what’s a good way of going about giving people a moral education
-moral things/values are things we talk about at home and church, but schools should be value-neutral
-people involved in school have become morally unconscious
-schools use the morality based on power and authority
-don’t necessarily have to deal with complicated moral situations that you’ve nev