Moral Decision‐Making, Religious Reinforcement and Some Educational Implications

Journal of Moral Education 6 (3):162-169 (1977)
Abstract
Abstract There is a fundamental gap between people's assertions as to what is right or wrong and their actual behaviour. This has been traditionally attributed to akrasia or weakness of the will. This paper examines this concept, and the related positive concept of KRAT, and considers what moral education can do about it. Claims by R.B. Braithwaite and others that religious traditions can provide reinforcement are examined and attention is directed to some important qualifications. The implications for moral education are considered, and it is argued that attempts by moral educationists to get to grips with this weakness must involve their own participation in moral debate and in decisions concerning the moral ethos of society. Anyone who observes human behaviour through moral spectacles soon discovers that there is a significant gap between people's assertions as to what is right or wrong and their actual behaviour. This gap is traditionally attributed to akrasia or weakness of the will. Any attempt to get to grips with moral education must (a) take cognizance of this phenomena and (b) consider what, if anything, can be done about it. In this paper I aim to do three things: (i) to draw attention to some significant factors associated with akrasia, (ii) to explore claims that religious traditions can help to overcome such weakness and (iii) to draw some general conclusions from these points for moral education
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