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An Exploratory Phenomenological Psychological Approach to the Experience of the Moral Sense

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The study of the moral sense was neglected for a long time in psychology until recently when Kohlberg, following the work of Piaget, constructed a scale for studying moral judgments. In this article the more scientific and empirical approach to the moral sense is questioned and an argument is made that a qualitative approach would yield more meaningful results. The work of Coles is cited as one example of a qualitative approach, and this article suggests a phenomenological approach. Five brief descriptions describing learning, resentment, decision-making, and the experience of autonomy were used for both analyses of the moral sense and psychological concomitants. The results indicate that the moral sense is a meaning that refers to an "ought" and that the awakening of the moral sense is frequently associated with negative emotions or feelings.

Affiliations: 1: Université de Québec à Montréal


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