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Title:The Potential of Metaethics for Moral Education
Author(s):Tunnell, Loretta Lyn Gross
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Philosophy of
Abstract:The problem for this study originates with present moral education programs in schools and the attitudes toward them held by teachers and administrators. The kinds of claims made about moral value are interpreted to indicate an implicit radical subjectivism or an unwarranted faith in an alleged formalism which actually masks particular substantive moralities. Some misuses of metaethics are uncovered which lead to the question of the potential of metaethics for correcting some of our misconceptions concerning indoctrination without violating the non-partisan requirement of education. Non-partisanship is recognized as one of the constitutive criteria of the domain of education. To work within the non-partisan parameter, a new conception of philosophy is required which permits the uncovering of insights from various philosophies while remaining impartial. The anti-naturalism of R. M. Hare and G. E. Moore fosters objections but with revision helps to pave the way for definitions of 'good' and 'moral' in terms of a meaning/criteria distinction and the appropriateness of giving reasons in moral discourse. This makes possible a resolution of the antinomy between autonomy and objectivity in moral thinking. Objections to egoism as a rational alternative are found to fail, but this does not allow the presentation of egoism in education as a possible morality. A metaethical principle of universalizability is elucidated which is binding upon our moral judgments in the form of a dialectical interplay between primary and secondary impartiality. An overly strong fact/value distinction is criticized in terms of the fallacy of disparateness which can occur when different fields are compared at different epistemological levels. Non-ideological understanding of fundamental virtues is recommended in terms of a minimum societal conception of humanity, while ordinary language analysis is used to exemplify a way of clarifying what virtues are. Explanation of the origin of objective language in science is recommended to foster understanding of the interaction of possibly objective and subjective elements in the realm of value. Ways in which metaethics is pragmatically, logically, and therapeutically relevant to moral thinking are related to the educational context where value options and tools for selecting them can be clarified without making choices for the student which are properly his own.
Issue Date:1981
Description:267 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8203623
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1981

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