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Durham e-Theses
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The development of a discourse of ethics in education

Collins, Michael Patrick (1998) The development of a discourse of ethics in education. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Ed D Thesis: The Development of a Discourse of Ethics in Education This thesis, although drawing upon many different sources, chiefly draws its key, illuminating idea from the work of four people, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Karl Popper, Richard Rorty and Don Cupitt, all of whom exemplified, in one way or another, the view that in order to extend one's understanding it is first necessary to extend one’s language. In other words, this thesis subscribes to the view that 'the limits of my language are the limits of my world' (Wittgenstein, 1993:56). Thus the task of this enquiry is to represent, by synthesis and extension, the kinds of language activity potentially capable of characterising a modern moral discourse. in the first instance, then, the thesis offers a commentary on the contemporary debate over the role of morality in education. The research is confined to a UK context and it draws its primary theoretical data from five different subject areas: Education, Psychology, Sociology, Theology and Philosophy. A secondary source of theoretical data is derived from an analysis of recent public documents from a range of organisations including the Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA).Second, the thesis thereafter offers a theoretically derived model of four distinctive value positions: Religion, Humanism, Utilitarianism and Kantianism. It is claimed that this provisional template is typical and largely representative of the mainstream data from above. Third, it is further claimed that these four value positions are representative of a common morality which can best be characterised as particular manifestations of language embedded in activity; or, to put it another way, as particular forms of language games: in this case games which perform the function of enabling value judgements to become enacted. Finally, a frame of reference for a common morality flows from the analysis composed of three constituent parts: (a) an objective element designated as A Four Quadrants model and based on the above four value positions; (b) a subjective element designated as A Syntax of Four Voices to reflect the belief that to be moral is also to be subjective (reflection and deliberation are seen here as bedrock metaphysical properties); (o) a synthesis element designated as Six Moral Precepts which emerge from the exploration and yield a codification of moral maxims which cohere as such to be representative of a common morality.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Thesis Date:1998
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:50

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