Educating the moral self: From Aristotle to Augusto Blasi
In the fields of psychology, philosophy, and education, increasing attention has been paid by researchers and theorists to the concepts of “the moral self” and “moral identity.” The purpose of this dissertation is to develop a critical and synthetic theoretical perspective on the moral self and its formation and to explore the ramifications for educational practice.
Principal sources for this study include contemporary developmental psychologist Augusto Blasi and the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. The origins and development of the concepts of moral self and moral identity will be traced through Piaget, Kohlberg, Rest, Damon, Colby and Damon, and Blasi. The traditional concept of character will be redefined in terms of social cognition and in relation to moral identity. Philosophers John Dewey and Nel Noddings, respectively, offer modern pragmatist and contemporary feminist perspectives on the formation of the moral self. Moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre's analysis of the challenge of Aristotelian virtue ethics in our current context will be presented as relevant to the theory of the moral self being developed.
Finally, drawing on these diverse sources, this dissertation draws out and inter-relates the following principal themes: how moral identity develops from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood, especially among exemplary persons; the relation of moral identity to motivation; the role of moral understanding in forming identity; the relationship of choice, will, and identity; the centrality of habit; the integration of affect and cognition; the relationships between concern for the good, for the self, and for the other; the self as relational and dependent on community and tradition; and the importance of having an idea of the truly moral person as an ideal or goal (telos) of human development.
0525: Educational psychology