The study of morality is an empirical as well as conceptual task, one that involves data collection, statistical analysis, the and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. This volume is about moral judgment, especially its exercise in selected social settings. The contributors are psychologists, sociologists, and philosophers of morality, most of whom have collaborated on long-ranged research projects in Europe involving socialization. Taken singly as well as in combination, these essays make it clear that moral judgment is a complex phenomena. The book fuses developmental psychology, sociology, and social psychology. It relates this directly to the work of Jean Piaget, and Lawrence Kohlberg, who wrote the introduction to the book. Whether moral reasoning has a content-specific domain, or whether its structures transcend specific issues of justice, obedience, and rights, these and similar questions suggest that moral philosophers and ethical theorists have much to say about the human condition. The contributors represent diverse disciplines; but they have as their common concern the topic of the interaction of individual or group-specific moral development and social milieu.
Although deeply involved in empirical research, they maintain that research on moral development can be pursued properly only in conjunction with a well-formulated theory of the relationship between society, cognition, and behavior. Moral development is an institutional as well as individual concern - for schools, universities, and the military. They are all rooted in the ability to formulate genuine and coherent moral judgments that reflect social conditions at two levels: individual socialization and historical development of the social system. This classic volume, now available in paperback, not only exemplifies that framework, but also makes an important contribution to it.