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Following Kohlberg

Following Kohlberg

Liberalism and the Practice of Democratic Community

Donald R. C. Reed

Most moral philosophers and psychologists have missed something crucial in the work of Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-87), best known for his theory of stages of moral development. In this comprehensive, useful volume, Donald R.C. Reed clearly illustrates how the Kohlbergian project has much to offer the crucial debate about moral psychology and how to revivify our society’s jaded
sense of fairness and responsibility.

Long interested in philosophical and empirical approaches to psychology, Reed supplies a sort of missing link, for no other such comprehensive overview of Kohlberg’s research is currently available. At the outset the author brings together the psychological theory and data that support Kohlberg’s stage theory, the philosophy of morality that informed Kohlberg’s research, and the interventions in prisons and schools by which Kohlberg put his theory into practice.

What most distinguishes Reed’s work in this volume is the insightful manner in which he detects in Kohlberg’s overall project a basic tension between the individualist philosophical and psychological conceptions that shape the stage theory of moral development, on the one hand, and those collectivist concepts which Kohlberg and his colleagues used to explain the interventions they designed. Reed then demonstrates how this disparity in the Kohlbergian project made it not so much flawed but simply incomplete at this point.

In the process, we witness Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan, his best-known and powerful critic, moving during the mid-1980s from conflicting viewpoints—his ethic of justice versus her ethic of care—to a fair degree of convergence on the essentials of mature morality: a balancing of impartial, principled considerations with a concern for that which is personal and particular to a specific moral
dilemma.

Psychologists, philosophers, theologians, educators, and therapists will find in this volume a comprehensive guide to Kohlberg’s life work, a clear presentation of both theory and practice, and an understanding of moral maturity which encompasses both justice and responsiveness. All who care about nurturing and preserving a democratic community are well-advised to read
Following Kohlberg.

“Kohlberg’s critics have maintained that his theory of moral development rests on the existence of moral stages. The critics (including myself) argue that stages don’t exist and thus that Kohlberg’s theory is false. Donald R.C. Reed’s fine book will put a stop to this sort of dismissive argument. Reed provides a careful reading of Kohlberg’s corpus and shows how his concerns with justice, fairness, democratic community, and moral education can be appreciated independently of the status of moral stage theory. A fine and careful study.” —Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy, Duke University

ISBN: 978-0-268-02851-0
304 pages
Publication Year: 2017

Donald R.C. Reed is professor of philosophy at Wittenberg University.

“Kohlberg’s critics have maintained that his theory of moral development rests on the existence of moral stages. The critics (including myself) argue that stages don’t exist and thus that Kohlberg’s theory is false. Donald R.C. Reed’s fine book will put a stop to this sort of dismissive argument. Reed provides a careful reading of Kohlberg’s corpus and shows how his concerns with justice, fairness, democratic community, and moral education can be appreciated independently of the status of moral stage theory. A fine and careful study.”
-Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy, Duke University

P03338

What Is Ethically Demanded?

K. E. Løgstrup's Philosophy of Moral Life


Edited by Hans Fink and Robert Stern

P03337

Christian Moral Life

Directions for the Journey to Happiness

John Rziha

P03248

Rousseau and Dignity

Art Serving Humanity


Edited by Julia V. Douthwaite

Following Kohlberg

Liberalism and the Practice of Democratic Community

Donald R. C. Reed

 Following Kohlberg: Liberalism and the Practice of Democratic Community
Cloth Edition
Paper Edition

Most moral philosophers and psychologists have missed something crucial in the work of Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-87), best known for his theory of stages of moral development. In this comprehensive, useful volume, Donald R.C. Reed clearly illustrates how the Kohlbergian project has much to offer the crucial debate about moral psychology and how to revivify our society’s jaded
sense of fairness and responsibility.

Long interested in philosophical and empirical approaches to psychology, Reed supplies a sort of missing link, for no other such comprehensive overview of Kohlberg’s research is currently available. At the outset the author brings together the psychological theory and data that support Kohlberg’s stage theory, the philosophy of morality that informed Kohlberg’s research, and the interventions in prisons and schools by which Kohlberg put his theory into practice.

What most distinguishes Reed’s work in this volume is the insightful manner in which he detects in Kohlberg’s overall project a basic tension between the individualist philosophical and psychological conceptions that shape the stage theory of moral development, on the one hand, and those collectivist concepts which Kohlberg and his colleagues used to explain the interventions they designed. Reed then demonstrates how this disparity in the Kohlbergian project made it not so much flawed but simply incomplete at this point.

In the process, we witness Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan, his best-known and powerful critic, moving during the mid-1980s from conflicting viewpoints—his ethic of justice versus her ethic of care—to a fair degree of convergence on the essentials of mature morality: a balancing of impartial, principled considerations with a concern for that which is personal and particular to a specific moral
dilemma.

Psychologists, philosophers, theologians, educators, and therapists will find in this volume a comprehensive guide to Kohlberg’s life work, a clear presentation of both theory and practice, and an understanding of moral maturity which encompasses both justice and responsiveness. All who care about nurturing and preserving a democratic community are well-advised to read
Following Kohlberg.

“Kohlberg’s critics have maintained that his theory of moral development rests on the existence of moral stages. The critics (including myself) argue that stages don’t exist and thus that Kohlberg’s theory is false. Donald R.C. Reed’s fine book will put a stop to this sort of dismissive argument. Reed provides a careful reading of Kohlberg’s corpus and shows how his concerns with justice, fairness, democratic community, and moral education can be appreciated independently of the status of moral stage theory. A fine and careful study.” —Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy, Duke University

ISBN: 978-0-268-02851-0

304 pages

“Kohlberg’s critics have maintained that his theory of moral development rests on the existence of moral stages. The critics (including myself) argue that stages don’t exist and thus that Kohlberg’s theory is false. Donald R.C. Reed’s fine book will put a stop to this sort of dismissive argument. Reed provides a careful reading of Kohlberg’s corpus and shows how his concerns with justice, fairness, democratic community, and moral education can be appreciated independently of the status of moral stage theory. A fine and careful study.”
-Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy, Duke University

Revisions: A Series of Books on Ethics