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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: April ::
Re: Some Thoughts
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0889  Monday, 24 April 2000.

[1]     From:   Marilyn Bonomi <
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        Date:   Friday, 21 Apr 2000 10:36:30 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0875 Re: Some Thoughts

[2]     From:   Laura Blankenship <
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        Date:   Friday, 21 Apr 2000 13:47:43 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0865 Re: Some Thoughts


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn Bonomi <
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Date:           Friday, 21 Apr 2000 10:36:30 -0400
Subject: 11.0875 Re: Some Thoughts
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0875 Re: Some Thoughts

There have been at least two major theoretical research efforts into the
development of ethical and moral values in the past 30-odd years.  The
first one I learned about in the late 70's or early 80's via the kinds
of ongoing education K-12 teachers keep acquiring.  I cannot drag the
researchers' names up from my storage banks and having just moved house
can't begin to find whatever books I have.  But their names began with K
(Kohlberg?  perhaps.) and they posited 5 stages of development, starting
of course from self-absorbed and moving outward.  Interestingly, one of
the two K's eventually committed suicide, placing his property on the
seat of his car and walking into the ocean, if I remember the story
correctly.

Carol Gilligan took issue with the research design, which was focused on
male subjects, and through a process of additional research posited a
somewhat different path of moral development for females, ending in a
more purely altruistic sixth stage (again, I am calling on very fuzzy
memory here, and being incredibly sketchy in my descriptions).

Personally, I cannot see how individuals are hard-wired either for
grammar or ethics.  We are born, I believe, with the hard-coded ABILITY
to form both grammars and ethics.  HOW we gain the deep-rooted grammar
of our native tongues is the subject of much study, but the core grammar
(I wish I could remember my Chomsky and generative-transform grammar
from undergrad school in the early 60's!) of each language varies so
much that we cannot be "born" knowing the one we speak.  Additional
proof of this statement is that children raised in truly bilingual homes
speak both languages with "native" intuitive knowledge of grammar.  HOW
we gain the deep-rooted grammar, if you will, of our ethical and moral
constructs also is a process, not a pre-destined Grace (to tie in
another thread <ducking from the rotten tomatoes suddenly being thrown
at her>).

That's just, as we say on the EverQuest forums, my 2 coppers....

Marilyn Bonomi

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Laura Blankenship <
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Date:           Friday, 21 Apr 2000 13:47:43 -0500
Subject: 11.0865 Re: Some Thoughts
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0865 Re: Some Thoughts

> << I suppose that new borns begin constructing meaning (at, perhaps, an
> elementary level).  Are they born with a "prior ethical commitment"? >>
>
> A good question.  They're born with grammar, which develops into many
> different languages around the globe.

Hmm. Are we sure about that?  I think there's much debate about what
humans are born with and what develops later.  I think many linguists
would argue that humans are not born with any kind of grammar, but learn
it from their environments-and often have to relearn it in school (or
learn a different version).

 >Is there any school of thought
> that suggest the same thing for ethics, that we're hardwired for some
> kind of "ethical commitment"?

I don't know of any current thoughts-ethics is not my field-but I do
know that in the Renaissance anyway, there was some idea that one was
born with a kind of morality.  I'm thinking of Castiligone's _Courtier_
where he implies that the upper class have the instinct for morality
whereas lower classes don't, which accounts for their depravity.  If I
recall, he does allow for some in the lower classes to learn morality
and proper behavior, but it's difficult.

Yours,
Laura Blankenship
University of Arkansas
 

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