Personal Identity and Education for the Desirable
Nisan (Mordecai)
Source: Journal of Moral Education, Vol. 25.1, 1996, pp. 75-83
Paper - Abstract

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Author's Abstract

  1. On the basis of an analysis of moral judgements and choices, this paper discusses moral motivation grounded in the desire to maintain and express one's personal identity as a good, or "good enough", person.
  2. This identity is perceived as a link between moral knowledge and commitment to moral action.
  3. Identity-based motivation encourages a pluralistic and tolerant view of other norms.
  4. Since it is based on personal identity, it suggests a new situation in education. The aim of moral education will be the development of an identity with an orientation towards the desirable rather than an instrumentalist orientation.
  5. It is suggested that the school should serve as a "culture preserve", offering a model of identity. In order to fulfill this mission the school must present, with full awareness of the dangers of this approach, a comprehensive system of values, beyond morality in the narrow sense.

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