Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Critical Thinking and Moral Reasoning: Can You Have One Without the Other?

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Much research has been done on critical thinking and on moral reasoning, but little has been conducted or reported on the relationship between the two. Since these two abilities are of current concern at all levels of education and since students are supposed to develop the ability to think analytically and behave ethically, it seems that some determination should be made as to if and/or how these two abilities are related. Some researchers have attempted to integrate creative thinking skills with moral reasoning skills and-'.ave found them generally to be related. In considering the importance of both critical thinking and moral reasoning, several researchers have recommended that children can learn that ethical acts must have reasons. They have suggested a method called "Ethical Inquiry" to facilitate this learning and relationship. In a sense, it has been pointed out, "ethical reasoning" is logically valid moral reasoning. If moral education is considered character education and reasoning or cognition an important aspect of this process, then issues of character may also be issues of cognition. Implications for curriculum design and research are noted, including several curriculum models reported in the literature.