Towards a Dynamic Systems Approach to moral development and moral education: a response to the JME Special Issue, September 2008

Journal of Moral Education 38 (3):283-298 (2009)
Abstract
Is 'development' a concept that properly belongs to mind and morality and, if it does, what account can we give of moral development now that Piagetian and Kohlbergian models are increasingly being abandoned in developmental psychology? In addressing this central issue, it is hoped that the paper will contribute to the quest for a new integrated model of moral functioning, called for in the September 2008 Special Issue of the Journal of Moral Education (37[3]). Our paper argues that the notion of moral development is fully justified, though it does not occur via invariant stages. Rather, each child is an emergent self-organising organism in which development is highly variable, dynamic and often non-linear. By viewing each child as a self-organising being and adopting the notion that moral development is dynamic and emergent from the predilection to value, the paper points towards a new account of moral development that opens up new avenues for educational research and moral education in schools.
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