Between Kant and Schopenhauer: Issues on Moral Motivation
AbstractPerhaps the single most important characteristic approaches to moral education have been the emphasis on moral reasoning (Plato, Kant, Aquinas etc,). While this emphasis is, I believe, a healthy one, there is some tendency to neglect the emotive side (motivational dynamics) and to suppose that merely verbalizing theoretically “higher level” moral reasons will correlate positively with moral behaviour (Kohlberg, 39). My contentions in this paper are first, that moral growth involves a gradual development of moral understanding (where there is a highly contingent and often misleading correlate between “giving reasons” and operating on a certain level of moral understanding); secondly, that moral maturity involves the gradual acquisition of a number of feeling dispositions like a sense of justice and an abhorrence of the unnecessary suffering of any sentient creature; and finally, that there ought to be a kind of harmony or fit between moral understanding or reasoning on the one hand, and the feeling dispositions on the other hand.
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