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Title:Formalism and Contextualism in Moral Education: An Analysis of Two Exemplars
Author(s):Cho, Kyung Won
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Philosophy of
Abstract:The dissertation aims to analyze the theories of Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan as representatives of the formalist and the contextualist traditions in moral theory. It first examines problems that each theory leaves unresolved and explicates the apparent conflict and tension that exist between the two perspectives. The question of resolving the conflict between impartiality and particularity is a complex one to which no obvious and easy answer corresponds. While there are important conflicts and tensions between a formalist and a contextualist moral theory, these two points of view also serve to complement one another.
The dissertation then argues that each side of the opposing views expresses an important insight into morality. On the one hand, formalism can provide the degree of moral certainty needed to appraise moral judgments. On the other hand, contextualism can provide an understanding of the particular situations of individual moral agents.
Given the inadequacy of Kohlberg's formalism and Gilligan's contextualism, the dissertation includes a brief examination of Habermas's idea of communicative ethics as an attempt to establish a loose unity between the two views by granting significance to the different sides of moral agency to which each of them speaks. The dissertation argues that even though both views appear incompatible in their respective demands and different directions, some concessions have to be made to each side.
Issue Date:1986
Description:174 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8623271
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1986

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