What Wrongdoers Deserve: The Moral Reasoning behind Responses to Misconduct

What Wrongdoers Deserve: The Moral Reasoning behind Responses to Misconduct

What Wrongdoers Deserve: The Moral Reasoning behind Responses to Misconduct

What Wrongdoers Deserve: The Moral Reasoning behind Responses to Misconduct

Synopsis

This study analyzes the reasoning process through which individuals determine what consequences are appropriate for those who do wrong. The authors presented six cases of wrongdoing to a large number of teenagers and young adults. This sample was asked what consequences would be appropriate for the wrongdoers and why those proposed consequences would be appropriate. On the basis of the data obtained from the participants, the authors constructed a taxonomy to use in categorizing features of moral reasoning. The authors then applied the taxonomy to compare group and individual modes of moral decision making. The study is significant in its reliance on original data and on its analysis of the thought processes involved in moral decision making.

Excerpt

At the outset, readers may find it helpful if we explain what this book is and what it is not.

What It Is. The purpose of our investigation has been to reveal aspects of moral reasoning that underlie the consequences people believe wrongdoers should experience. Our approach has consisted of presenting six cases of wrongdoing to a large number of teenagers and young adults and asking them (1) what consequences they would recommend and (2) why they believe their proposals are appropriate. Then we used the participants' answers as the raw material for constructing a taxonomy to use in categorizing features of people's moral reasoning. Subsequently, we applied the resulting taxonomy in comparing group and individual modes of moral decision making.

What It Is Not. This book is not a survey of the scholarly and professional literature in such fields as moral development, crime and punishment, social custom, or the like. Rather, in our attempt to adopt a fresh approach to our task, we set aside the writings of others and concentrated entirely on the opinions expressed by the respondents in this study. Hence, we derived the taxonomy solely by following our data -- by trying to understand the thought processes implied in the participants' judgments of the six cases. As a consequence, the book contains very few references to the work of others. Whenever a reference does appear, it has been chosen simply to illustrate a point we wished to make.

We wish to express our appreciation to a variety of people who contributed significantly to the success of the project. We are particularly indebted to eight educators who collected students' opinions about appropriate consequences for wrongdoers -- Patricia Meu Ling Leong, George Petersen, Mohammed Rasheed, Abdul Rasheed, Matt Scanlon, Stephen Stamnes, Randy Sweeney, and Darius K. Jonathan. We also wish to thank the 542 respondents who completed quewtionnaires and the 20 individuals who offered their opinions during interviews, with special thanks to Jonathan Lau, Jeff Sterkel, Kelly Sterkel, and Courtney Thomas.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.