AN APPRAISAL OF THE NATURE AND EFFECT OF MORAL DEVELOPMENT AND REASONING

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

It is sometimes assumed that a person’s values are formed during childhood and do not change after. A great deal of psychological research as well as One’s own personal experience, demonstrate that as people mature they change their values in very deep and profound ways. Just as peoples’ physical, Emotional, and cognitive abilities develop as they age so also their ability to deal with moral issues develop as they move through their lives. In fact, just as there are identifiable stages of growth in the physical development so the ability to make reasoned moral judgments also develop in identifiable stages. As children we are simply told what is right and what is wrong and we obey so as to avoid punishment; the child adherence to moral standards is essentially self-absorbed for the avoidance of pain.

As we mature into adolescence, these conventional moral standards are gradually internalized Adherence to moral standards is now based on living up to the expectation of family, friends and the surrounding society. We do what is right because it is what our groups expect of us. It is only as rational and experienced adults that we acquire the capacity to critically reflect on the conventional moral standards bequeathed to us by our families, peers, culture, or religion. We then begin to rationally evaluate these moral standards and their consequences and to revise them where they are inadequate, inconsistent, or unreasonable. We begin to do ethics and our morality now increasingly consists of moral standard that are more impartial and that take account of the interest of others or that more adequately balance taking care of others with taking care of ourselves. Moral reasoning refers to the reasoning process by which human behavior, institution s or policies are judged to be in accordance with or in violation of moral standards. Moral reasoning always involves two essential components; An understanding of what reasonable moral standards require, prohibits, value or condemn; Evidence or information that shows that a particular person, policy, institution, or behavior has the kinds of features that these moral standards require, prohibits, value or condemn. In many cases, one or more of the three components involved in a person’s moral reasoning are not expressed.

More often than not people will fail to make explicit the moral standards on which their moral judgments are based. The main reason that moral standards are often not made explicit is that they are generally presumed to be obvious. People put more of their efforts into producing evidence that a given policy, institution or action conforms to, or violates their unexpressed standards than they put identifying or explaining the moral standards on which their judgments rely. Failure to make ones moral standards explicit leaves one vulnerable to all the problems created by basing critical decision on unexamined assumptions. The assumptions may be inconsistent, they may have no rational basis and they may lead the decision maker into unwittingly making decision with undesirable consequences. The research therefore seeks to provide an appraisal of the nature and effect of moral development and reasoning.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

A great deal of psychological research as well as one’s own personal experience, demonstrate that as people mature they change their values in very deep and profound ways. Just as peoples physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities develops as they age so also their ability to deal with moral issues develops as they move through their lives. Infact, just as there are identifiable stages of growth in the physical development so the ability to make reasoned moral judgments also develop in identifiable stages.

Studies showed that as a child and during the adolescent period, we internalize moral values transferred to us by our parents, friends or group. It is only as rational and experienced adults that we acquire the capacity to critically reflect on the conventional moral standards bequeathed to us by our families, peers, culture, or religion. We then begin to rationally evaluate these moral standards and their consequences and to revise them where they are inadequate, inconsistent, or unreasonable. We begin to do ethics and our morality now increasingly consists of moral standard that are more impartial and that take account of the interest of others or that more adequately balance taking care of others with taking care of ourselves. The inability to understand and identify moral standards as well as possess moral reasoning is a setback to making decisions that are judged to be of moral standard.

Therefore the problem confronting this study is to provide an appraisal of the nature and impact of moral development and reasoning with a case study of students of the Federal University of Technology Akure.

1.3         Objective of the Study

1.  To examine the impact of moral development on the reasoning of students.

2.  To ascertain the relationship between moral development and reasoning.

1.4       Research Question

1.  Does moral development impact on the reasoning of students?

2.  Is there a relationship between moral development and reasoning?

1.5    Statement of the Hypotheses

Ho1:    Moral development has no significant impact on the reasoning of students.

Ho2:    There is no relationship between moral development and reasoning.

1.6    Significance of the Study

The study is significant in determining the importance of maturity in decision making that have moral standards and implications.  As moral development evolve through stages and that is only as rational and experienced adults that we acquire the capacity to critically reflect on the conventional moral standards bequeathed to us by our families, peers, culture, or religion, we then begin to rationally evaluate these moral standards and their consequences and to revise them where they are inadequate, inconsistent, or unreasonable.

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.

1.7       Scope of the Study

The study proffers an appraisal of the nature and effect of moral development and reasoning, it analyses the nature of moral development and moral reasoning and elucidates on its significance. It provides a case study on selected students of the Federal University of Technology Akure to determine their moral development and reasoning and the effect it has on their quality of decisions.

1.8       Definition of Terms

Moral Development: A great deal of psychological research as well as one’s own personal experience, demonstrate that as people mature they change their values in very deep and profound ways. Just as people’s physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities develops as they age so also their ability to deal with moral issues develops as they move through their lives.

Moral Reasoning: Moral   reasoning refers to the reasoning process by which human behavior, institution s or policies are judged to be in accordance with or in violation of moral standards.

Ethics: Ethics refers to the principles of and standard of moral behavior that are accepted by society as right versus wrong. To make the right choice, or at least the best choice from among competing alternatives, individuals must think through the consequences of their actions. Ethics can be defined as a set of principles of right conduct. It can also be defined as a theory or a system of moral values.

Morality: Morality is defined as the standards that an individual or group has about what is right and wrong or good and evil.

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