Knowing, doing and the moral mind : development of a non-realist and non-rationalist interpretation of the meaning of moral knowing and its implications for moral education
Modern theories of moral education question the truth of Socrates's belief which involves an idea of positive relationship between 'moral knowing' and 'doing'. As a result, such theories divide moral education between development of moral judgment and character training. However, the division of moral education invites a more puzzling philosophical perplexity such as the denial of a relationship between 'knowing' and 'doing'. The study proposes a theory of moral education which dissolves the philosophical perplexity, through a linguistic analysis of the words which constitute moral statements and relying on an educational examination of the meaning of 'moral knowing' which is seriously distorted by Socrates's inadequate definitions of the terms 'virtue' and `knowledge' in his proposition, 'Virtue is knowledge'. The meaning of the word 'X' in the form of moral statement such as 'X is good', which is primarily fact-denoting, extends for its accompanying meaning beyond that as delimited by Socrates and the realists. Accompanying meanings are moral notions but nondescriptive, though they may be in some cases symbolised roughly by such 'notional words' as 'benevolence' and 'justice'. Contrasting with the statement such as 'Benevolence is good', which constitutes itself with a notional word, the form of 'X is good' will be meaningless unless it is understood with moral notions. `Knowing' in moral education is not theoretical, having regard to the nature of moral notions. 'Moral notions' embrace both 'knowing' and 'doing'. Therefore, education for the development of 'moral mind' must not be confined to clarification of meanings of words and ratiocination of judgments; it should help pupils to perceive moral qualities in situations where such qualities are deeply embedded and to imagine the world as it should be from the world as it is.