An Integrated Theory of Moral Development

by R. Murray Thomas


Components from a variety of existing theories combine with insights from the author's research to create an original theory of moral development.

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May 1997


Pages 384
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Religion/General
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This book is the framework for a new theory of moral development that combines components from a variety of existing theories of human development with the author's original research. The detailed description of the theory is divided into five sections: (1) foundations of development, (2) long-term memory, (3) the influence of environments, (4) working memory, and (5) progressions and stages of development. Each chapter concludes with an exercise demonstrating the application of the new theory, and the final section of the book employs the theory as a lens through which the moral development of four historic figures can be viewed afresh.

Author Info

R. Murray Thomas is professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His published work includes Praeger's Religion in Schools: Controversies around the World; Violence in America's Schools: Understanding, Prevention, and Responses; God in the Classroom: Religion and America's Public Schools; and Manitou and God: North-American Indian Religions and Christian Culture, among other titles.

Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroductionTheories and IssuesDelineating the Realm of Moral ValuesThe Theory: A Short Form, Phase I: Components of DevelopmentThe Theory: A Short Form, Phase II: Pathways of DevelopmentFoundations of DevelopmentGenetic Endowment and MaturationPhysiological ConditionsThe Nature of Long-Term MemoryNeeds and GoalsFacts and ConceptsCausal Relations and Moral ValuesMental Processes and Levels of ConsciousnessMoral Self-Identity, Emotions, & ConscienceThe Influence of EnvironmentsFabricators, Critical Incidents, Contexts, and FormsFunctions and Impact FactorsWorking MemoryThinking and ActingMoral Development PatternsAlternative Moral HierarchiesProgressions and Stages in Moral DevelopmentThe Theory in Practice: Viewing Lives Through the Theory LensExemplars of Heroic MoralityExemplars of Blemished MoralityEpilogueUnfinished BusinessReferencesIndex

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