1st Edition

New Perspectives on Moral Development

Edited By

Charles C. Helwig

ISBN 9781138188020
Published October 13, 2017 by Routledge
170 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

This volume presents a selection of some of the most exciting new perspectives on moral development that have emerged over the last decade and have transformed our understanding of the field.

The contributors to this book cut across traditional boundaries to provide an innovative and integrative approach to fundamental questions dealing with the nature and acquisition of morality. In addressing these questions, the chapters draw on new work on the origins of morality in infancy and the early years, comparative approaches examining morality in primates, new perspectives on moral emotions such as guilt and empathy, and new perspectives on the emerging moral self in childhood and moral identity in adolescence. The book also examines the roles of parenting and culture in children’s and adolescents’ moral development. Each chapter is framed in theory and methodology and provides illustrative examples of new research to address important questions in the field.

This book is essential reading for researchers and advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students studying moral development and developmental psychology. It will also be of interest to academics and professionals in related fields such as education and public policy.

Table of Contents


Charles C. Helwig

1 Prosociality and Morality in Children and Chimpanzees

Jan Engelmann and Michael Tomasello

2 Helping, Hitting, and Developing: Toward a Constructivist-Interactionist Account of Early Morality

Audun Dahl, Talia Waltzer, and Rebekkah L. Gross

3 Emotions and Morality: New Developmental Perspectives

Tina Malti, Sebastian P. Dys, Tyler Colasante, and Joanna Peplak

4 Children's Moral Self as a Precursor of Moral Identity Development

Tobias Krettenauer

5 Moral Identity Theory and Research: A Status Update

Sam A. Hardy

6 "I Hurt Him": From Morally Relevant Actions to Moral Development, by Way of Narrative

Cecilia Wainryb and Monisha Pasupathi

7 Parenting, Morality, and Social Development: New Views on Old Questions

Judith G. Smetana and Marc Jambon

8 Culture, Autonomy, and Rights

Charles C. Helwig and Sharon To

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Charles C. Helwig is Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association. His research examines children’s conceptions of rights, autonomy, and democracy across cultural contexts.


In this state-of-the-art volume, chapters by top scholars address moral development in connection with related matters of empathy, sympathy, agency, responsibility, normativity, guilt, collaboration, autonomy, identity, peer interaction, family relations, and social convention. Underlying the volume is a constructivist developmental consensus that morality is the outcome of developmental processes in which children and adolescents, individually and collectively, play active roles in their own moral progress. Only by considering children’s constructive contributions to their own development can we understand the real nature of morality.


David Moshman, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Nebraska- Lincoln, USA


Charles Helwig has produced a new and exciting volume on perspectives on morality. The approaches to morality, featured in this book, represent answers to the timeless and substantive questions regarding the origins of morality, the role of emotions and reasoning, how parents influence moral development, and the significant and myriad ways in which culture has its influence.This is a "must-read" for students and scholars who want to learn about the new and engaging scholarship on the origins of morality. I applaud Professor Helwig for bringing together scholars from multiple perspectives to shed light on what are fundamental and central aspects for the survival of human civilization, which includes the need to respect one another, treat each other with compassion, fairness, equality, and justice.


Melanie Killen, University of Maryland, and Editor of the Handbook of Moral Development, 2nd edition, and author of Children and Social Exclusion: Morality, Prejudice, and Group Identity.


New Perspectives on Moral Development edited by Charles Helwig lives up to its name by including chapters from authors across a range of perspectives addressing the core issues of contemporary moral development research and theory. The book addresses the early emergence of morality, the role of emotion and reasoning, moral agency, parent-child relations, and the impact of culture. Some authors, such as Smetana and Tomasello are well-established scholars. Part of what makes this book exiting is the inclusion of new scholars such as Tina Malti and Audun Dahl, who are destined to be the field’s future leaders. Despite being an edited book this volume has a coherence and structure that invites reading cover to cover.


Larry Nucci, Graduate School of Education, University of California, USA