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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes moral judgment development through the lens of social domain theory. Morality, or individuals’ concepts of justice, welfare, and rights, is seen as a distinct system or organized domain of social knowledge that develops separately from concepts of social conventions and personal issues; these concepts are constructed from children’s differentiated social interactions and social experiences. In this chapter, basic theoretical propositions of social domain theory and methods used to test those propositions are described, and then relevant empirical research is reviewed. The chapter highlights how children’s understanding and interpretation of their social worlds are elaborated and change from infancy through adolescence. The complexity and diversity of social life is described as entailing a consideration of moral concepts as informed by informational assumptions and knowledge of regularities in the affective consequences of different events. It is also considered in terms of the coexistence of and coordination with other social knowledge domains.

Keywords: morality, moral judgments, moral development, rights, social conventions, personal choices, autonomy, culture

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