Gibbs on Kohlberg on Dewey: An essay review of John C. Gibbs's Moral Development and Reality.

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  • Author(s): Bergman, Roger (AUTHOR)
  • Source:
    European Journal of Developmental Psychology. Sep2006, Vol. 3 Issue 3, p300-315. 16p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      According to Daniel Lapsley in his foreword to John Gibbs's Moral Development and Reality: Beyond the Theories of Kohlberg and Hoffman (2003), “Professor Gibbs argues that Kohlberg's stage theory fails largely because his best Piagetian insights were corrupted by his fascination with Dewey's writings on internalization and group conformity.” According to Gibbs, continues Lapsley, Kohlberg's “formulation of the preconventional, conventional, and postconventional typology can be traced to Dewey.” Lapsley observes that “to call Kohlberg's Deweyan commitments the “Procrustean bed” that distorts his developmental theory is a startling claim” (Gibbs, 2003, p. viii). 1All subsequent page number citations will be to Gibbs (2003) unless otherwise indicated. Indeed it is. I also believe it is false in a complex way, or at least seriously misleading. The theses of this paper are that: (1) Dewey's moral psychology includes, in any substantial way, neither (a) a three-stage developmental theory nor (b) internalization as part of that theory; that therefore either (2) Kohlberg misread Dewey, and/or (3) Gibbs misreads Kohlberg. This confusion suggests a look at what has been called a “neo-Kohlbergian approach” as a competing theory to Gibbs's “new view of life span moral judgment development” (pp. 74 – 75). [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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