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Moral Development and Reality Beyond the Theories of Kohlberg, Hoffman, and Haidt



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Oxford University Press
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Questions About This Book?

What version or edition is this?

This is the 3rd edition with a publication date of 8/30/2013.

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any CDs, lab manuals, study guides, etc.


Moral Development and Reality explores the nature of moral development, human behavior, and social interconnections. The exploration elucidates the full range of moral development, from superficial perception to a deeper understanding and feeling through social perspective-taking. By comparing, contrasting, and going beyond the key theories of preeminent thinkers Lawrence Kohlberg, Martin Hoffman, and Jonathan Haidt, author John C. Gibbs tackles vital questions: What exactly is morality and its development? Can the key theoretical perspectives be integrated? What accounts for prosocial behavior, and how can we understand and treat antisocial behavior? Does moral development, including moments of moral inspiration, reflect a deeper reality?

This third edition of Moral Development and Reality is thoroughly updated, refined, and expanded. A major addition to this volume is the attention to the work of Jonathan Haidt, a prominent theorist who studies the psychological bases of morality across cultures and political ideologies. Gibbs is authoritative with respect to Kohlberg's, Hoffman's, and Haidt's theories, thanks in good measure to his privileged position, having worked or been acquainted with all three of these key figures for decades. A new foreword by David Moshman introduces the third edition, calling it "the most important contribution to the study of moral development since the turn of the century." Moral Development and Reality will have broad appeal across academic and applied disciplines, especially education and the helping professions. With its case studies and chapter questions, it also serves as a text in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in social/developmental psychology and human development.

Author Biography

John C. Gibbs, PhD, is Professor of Developmental Psychology at The Ohio State University. His research interests include cross-cultural sociomoral development, parental socialization, empathy, prosocial behavior, and antisocial behavior. Dr. Gibbs innovated a major intervention program for antisocial youth and has developed assessment measures of moral judgment, moral identity, social perspective-taking, self-serving cognitive distortions, and social skills. In addition to his books, Dr. Gibbs has authored or coauthored over 80 book chapters and articles on the topics pertaining to moral development and reality.

Table of Contents

Foreword by David Moshman
Preface and Acknowledgments
About the Author

1. Introduction
Social Perspective Taking, Reversibility, and Morality
The Right and the Good: The Moral Domain
Introducing Chapters 3 through 10

2. Beyond Haidt's New Synthesis
Three themes
Conclusion and Critique

3. "The Right" and Moral Development: Fundamental Themes of Kohlberg's Cognitive Developmental Approach
Early Childhood Superficiality
Beyond Early Childhood Superficiality
Stages of Moral Judgment Development
Evaluating Haidt's Challenge

4. Kohlberg's Theory: A Critique and New View
Kohlberg's Overhaul of Piaget's Phases
Adult Moral Development in Kohlberg's Theory
A Critique and New View

5. "The Good" and Moral Development: Hoffman's Theory
The Empathic Predisposition
Modes and Stages of Empathy
Empathy and Prosocial Behavior: Cognitive Complications and Empathy's
Empathy, Its Cognitive Regulation, and Affective Primacy
The Empathic Predisposition, Socialization, and Moral Internalization
Conclusion and Critique

6. Moral Development, Moral Identity, and Prosocial Behavior
Prosocial Behavior: The Rescue
Individual Differences in Prosocial Behavior
Conclusion: A Spurious "Moral Exemplar"

7. Understanding Antisocial Behavior
Limitations of Antisocial Youths
A Case Study

8. Treating Antisocial Behavior
The Mutual Help Approach
Remedying the Limitations and Generating Synergy: The Cognitive Behavioral Approach
Social Perspective-Taking for Severe Offenders

9. Beyond the Theories: A Deeper Reality?
Two Case Studies
A Deeper Reality?
Moral Insight, Inspiration, and Transformation

10. Conclusion
Revisiting the Issue of Moral Motivation and Knowledge
Moral Perception and Reality

Author Index
Subject Index

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