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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Our capacity for moral reasoning is a distinctly human ability. Moral reasoning is defined as an intra- and interpersonal psychological phenomenon that is important in individual and collective moral judgments and behaviors. This chapter reviews the contributions of five influential lines of theory and research, proceeding in roughly chronological order from earlier to recent work. Specifically, cognitive-developmental, domain, care and prosociality, identity, and cultural-developmental approaches to moral reasoning are described. Findings across the five approaches suggest that infants share common moral sensibilities. With development, however, children, adolescents, and adults from different cultures become diverse in their moral reasoning. The chapter ends with a discussion of three promising future research directions pertaining to coverage of the full life span, conceptualizing moral reasoning not only as intrapersonal but also interpersonal, and implications of globalization on moral development.

Keywords: moral reasoning, moral development, moral behavior, moral identity, culture, globalization, contexts, processes, life course

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