The Development of Justice Conceptions and the Unavoidability of the Normative

Journal of Moral Education 32 (2):183-194 (2003)
Abstract
This article spells out the way in which normative concerns unavoidably enter into the design and interpretation of empirical research on children's development of justice conceptions, with special emphasis on Damon's well-known stage theory of such development. Normative considerations provide assumptions not only about what counts as a conception of justice in the first place but also what counts as a better or a worse conception. Damon, for one, relies on the questionable normative premise that all distributive choices are choices about justice. An alternative research programme is suggested, based on piecemeal mutual adjustments between the normative and the empirical, a programme which would focus on children's desert-based emotions
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