Caught in a narrow Kantian perception of prosocial development: Reactions to Campbell and Christopher's critique of moral development theory

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Abstract

Campbell and Christopher criticized the literature on moral development and altruism for its reliance on Kantian presuppositions and suggested alternative ways to view morality. Although their arguments are convincing in regard to the importance of considering other conceptions of morality, a number of their assertions in regard to work on altruism and prosocial behavior are less convincing. Campbell and Christopher based some of their conclusions on questionable definitions of prosocial behavior and altruism, incorrect assumptions about others' assertions and beliefs, and reference to a limited portion of the research on prosocial behavior. These and other limitations of Campbell and Christopher's assertions are discussed. In addition, research pertaining to factors viewed by Campbell and Christopher as neglected in moral development theory is briefly reviewed. It is suggested that Kantian presuppositions have played only a minor role in theory and research on prosocial development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-68
Number of pages21
JournalDevelopmental Review
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1996

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Moral Development
Altruism
development theory
altruism
morality
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education

Cite this

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abstract = "Campbell and Christopher criticized the literature on moral development and altruism for its reliance on Kantian presuppositions and suggested alternative ways to view morality. Although their arguments are convincing in regard to the importance of considering other conceptions of morality, a number of their assertions in regard to work on altruism and prosocial behavior are less convincing. Campbell and Christopher based some of their conclusions on questionable definitions of prosocial behavior and altruism, incorrect assumptions about others' assertions and beliefs, and reference to a limited portion of the research on prosocial behavior. These and other limitations of Campbell and Christopher's assertions are discussed. In addition, research pertaining to factors viewed by Campbell and Christopher as neglected in moral development theory is briefly reviewed. It is suggested that Kantian presuppositions have played only a minor role in theory and research on prosocial development.",
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