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Empathy and Moral Development
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Book description

Contemporary theories have generally focused on either the behavioral, cognitive or emotional dimensions of prosocial moral development. In this volume, these three dimensions are brought together while providing the first comprehensive account of prosocial moral development in children. The main concept is empathy - one feels what is appropriate for another person's situation, not one's own. Hoffman discusses empathy's role in five moral situations. The book's focus is empathy's contribution to altruism and compassion for others in physical, psychological, or economic distress. Also highlighted are the psychological processes involved in empathy's interaction with certain parental behaviors that foster moral internalization in children and the psychological processes involved in empathy's relation to abstract moral principles such as caring and distributive justice. This important book is the culmination of three decades of study and research by a leading figure in the area of child and developmental psychology.

Reviews

‘Empathy and Moral Development is the most important book on empathy, its cultivation, and its fundamental contribution to moral development and behavior. Hoffman’s use of types of moral encounter as an organizational device is inspired. In this one work, we finally have the integrative product of Hoffman’s three decades of impressive contributions to the field.’

John C. Gibbs - Ohio State University

‘Elegantly written … a useful attempt to make moral reasoning more evidence based.’

Richard Ashcroft Source: The Lancet

'For over four decades Martin Hoffman has investigated the many facets of moral development, focusing particularly on empathy. In this very important book he integrates his efforts, giving the reader a powerful account of the central role that empathy plays in moral agency. Hoffman's book will serve as a contemporary milestone for both researchers and educators in moral development.'

Source: Journal of Moral Education

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