Moral versus Social-conventional Reasoning: A narrative and cultural critique

Carol S. Witherell, Carolyn Pope Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We suggest in this paper that attempts to segregate social-conventional reasoning from the moral domain may represent an artifactual division, one that ignores major philosophic and psychological traditions and cultural constructs regarding the moral self. We address such issues as the individual, social, and relational dimensions of morality; the cultural context of moral development and behavior; and whether morality is solely a matter of justice, harm and welfare considerations, or concerned as well with culturally variable definitions of the good self and the good society, with role obligations, and with caring and affective aspects of human experience. We conclude with a call for continuing narrative and anthropological approaches to the study of moral development in order to reach a fuller understanding of the multiple facets of moral life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-304
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Moral Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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