Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. S.M. Najm
This thesis initially sets forth a program of moral education which teaches moral reasoning is the only program that could be adopted within the educational aim to "educate" and not to "indoctrinate" the child. This is the case because one does not want to implement a program of moral education that adopts a normative system of predetermined judgements because; 1) there is no agreement as to which normative judgements one would adopt as the correct ones, and, 2) by teaching normative judgements one is limiting the cognitive perspective of the child which means he does not have the knowledge or understanding that enables him to be on the "inside" of his "moral knowledge". The child who is taught normative judgements is not educated.
However, even though moral reasoning appears to be a plausible educational option it is not as neutral as one is led to believe. The teaching of a method whereby one can make moral judgments involves second order beliefs about first order moral discourse that may in some instances determine one's moral judgements. One cannot claim that teaching moral reasoning does not indirectly indoctrinate the child. Second, it is not clear that teaching moral knowledge will result in a morally educated child. Morality, as Aristotle points out, not only involves knowledge but also a disposition to habitually perform right acts. A child cannot be morally educated if he only has moral knowledge. He must also be taught how to act. It is only after he habitually performs right acts that moral knowledge is relevant.
The aim of education must then be changed so that one can inculcate in the child a disposition to perform right acts. The thesis concludes then, that a program of education for attitudes and emotions may in the end be a more comprehensive method whereby we can morally educate children.
Middaugh, Lynda Ruth, "Moral Education" (1978). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 333.