chapter  7
Judgment and Choice in Moral Functioning
WithMordecai Nisan
Pages 28

In his writings about moral identity, Blasi (1993) aims at strengthening and

perhaps rescuing the cognitive approach to moral functioning. In contrast to

the emotional-behavioral approach that dominated psychology until the

1960s, which reduced moral judgment to moral behavior, the cognitive ap-

proach (Kohlberg, 1984; Lapsley, 1996) viewsmoral judgment as the core that

defines and directs moral functioning. As Blasi (1997) repeatedly stresses in

hiswritings,moral behavior is defined by a judgment, an intention, and a sense

of obligation to behave in accordance with one’s perception of the upright,

rather than by the behavior that corresponds to this perception. Behavior in and

of itself may be arbitrary, automatic, or conditioned; or it may grow out of cal-

culations of self-interest. An intention to behave according to the upright rests

on an understanding that a particular behavior is required or prohibited by a

rule or principle that the individual accepts as binding. Kohlberg’s cogni-

tive-developmental theory of moral development was so enthusiastically re-

ceived, I believe, because it was compatible with this perception of morality,

which was pervasive not only in moral philosophy (e.g. Frankena, 1973) but

also in common vernacular. People consider behavior to be moral when it

stems from moral judgment and moral motivation and is undertaken con-

sciously and intentionally. Blasi (1997) does not compromise this strict char-

acterization ofmorality, evenwith regard to the judgment of young children.