Phronesis and the Knowledge-Action Gap in Moral Psychology and Moral Education: A New Synthesis?

Catharine Darnell, Liz Gulliford, Kristján Kristjánsson, Panos Paris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article has two aims. First, to offer a critical review of the literatures on two well-known single-component solutions to the problem of a gap between moral knowledge and moral action: moral identity and moral emotions. Second, to take seriously the rising interest in Aristotle-inspired virtue ethics and character development within the social sciences: approaches that seem to assume that the development of phronesis (practical wisdom) bridges the gap in question. Since phronesis is a multicomponent construct, the latter part of this article offers an overview of what those different components would be, as a necessary precursor to operationalising them if the phronesis hypothesis were to be subjected to empirical scrutiny. The idea of a neo-Aristotelian multicomponent solution to the “gappiness problem” invites comparisons with another multicomponent candidate, the neo-Kohlbergian four-component model, with which it shares at least surface similarities. Some space is thus devoted to the proposed theoretical uniqueness of a phronesis-based multicomponent model vis-à-vis the neo-Kohlbergian one. Our main conclusion is that – weaknesses in its developmental psychological grounding notwithstanding – operationalising the phronesis model for the purposes of instrument design and empirical inquiry would be a feasible and potentially productive enterprise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-129
Number of pages29
JournalHuman Development
Volume62
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Fingerprint

Phronesis
Moral Education
Psychology Education
Moral Psychology
Enterprise
Virtue Ethics
Moral Emotions
Practical Wisdom
Critical Review
Aristotelian
Social Sciences
Aristotle
Scrutiny
Uniqueness
Psychological
Precursor
Moral Knowledge
Grounding

Keywords

  • Gappiness problem
  • Moral emotions
  • Moral identity
  • Neo-Kohlbergian four-component model
  • Phronesis

Cite this

Darnell, Catharine ; Gulliford, Liz ; Kristjánsson, Kristján ; Paris, Panos. / Phronesis and the Knowledge-Action Gap in Moral Psychology and Moral Education: A New Synthesis?. In: Human Development. 2019 ; Vol. 62, No. 3. pp. 101-129.
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Phronesis and the Knowledge-Action Gap in Moral Psychology and Moral Education: A New Synthesis? / Darnell, Catharine; Gulliford, Liz; Kristjánsson, Kristján; Paris, Panos.

In: Human Development, Vol. 62, No. 3, 01.06.2019, p. 101-129.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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