Postconventional Moral Thinking: A Neo-kohlbergian Approach, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Postconventional Moral Thinking

A Neo-kohlbergian Approach, 1st Edition

By James R. Rest, Darcia Narv ez, Stephen J. Thoma, Muriel J. Bebeau, Muriel J. Bebeau

Psychology Press

240 pages

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Although Lawrence Kohlberg provided major ideas for psychological research in morality for decades, today some critics regard his work as outmoded, beyond repair, and too faulty for anybody to take seriously. These critics suggest that research would advance more profitably by taking a different approach. Postconventional Moral Thinking acknowledges particular philosophical and psychological problems with Kohlberg's theory and methodology, and proposes a reformulation called "Neo-Kohlbergian." Hundreds of researchers have reported a large body of findings after having employed Kohlberg's theory and methods to the Defining Issues Test (DIT), therefore attesting to the relevance of his ideas.

This book provides a coherent theoretical overview for hundreds of studies that have used the DIT. The authors propose reformulations in the underlying psychological and philosophical theories. This book pulls together the analysis of criticisms of a Kohlbergian approach, a rationale for DIT research, and new theoretical ideas and new research.


"Postconventional Moral Thinking is a rich and detailed book….It is very well organised and clearly written. Knowledgeable readers will quickly locate specific areas of interest. Those new to the field will find the systematic presentation of research, theory, critique and refutation most helpful."

Journal of Moral Education

"…the volume provides a provocative framework for understanding moral development that will be of interest to a wide range of investigators and that points to worthwhile directions for future research."

Contemporary Psychology

"This book presents a formidable rereading of the nature of moral development which builds from and reconceptualizes the process of moral growth in a way which compensates for some of the shortcomings of the standard Kohlberg account of moral growth while maintaining those elements of the Kohlbergian approach which allow for assessment of global shifts in moral thought. It is likely to be considered a 'must read' in the field of moral development research."

Larry Nucci

University of Illinois, Chicago

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Overview of Our Neo-Kohlbergian Approach. Psychological and Philosophical Challenges to Kohlberg's Approach. A Neo-Kohlbergian Approach Based on the DIT. Validity and Reliability Studies of the DIT. New Issues, New Theory, New Findings. Stages or Schemas? Integrating With the Domain Approach. Integrating With the Cultural Psychology Approach. Summary. Appendices: The ATHRI. Services and Materials Available From the Minnesota Center.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / General