Digest of terms

modes of moral thinking

one widely used analysis (pioneered by R J Havighurst) identifies four main modes of moral thinking. These are other obeying, other considering, self obeying and self considering. They are constituted by two different axes - that between the self and the other and that between reflective consideration and obligatory obedience.

Their interplay can be set out orthogonally:

OTHER Heteronomous Altruistic
SELF Intuitive Prudential


Research suggests that all four modes subsist alongside each other in children as in adults. By late childhood however one mode will come to predominate over the others in shaping how an individual behaves.

This same analysis can be applied to religious versions of moral thinking. See Roles for Moral Thinking Component.

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