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Moral Development and RealityBeyond the Theories of Kohlberg, Hoffman, and Haidt$
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John C. Gibbs

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199976171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199976171.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 October 2021

Understanding Antisocial Behavior

Understanding Antisocial Behavior

(p.152) 7 Understanding Antisocial Behavior
Moral Development and Reality

John C. Gibbs

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the moral aspects of antisocial behavior. Drawing on the developmental theories of Lawrence Kohlberg and Martin Hoffman, it explores self-centration and other limitations characteristic of young people with antisocial behavior problems, taking into account the background factors of nature and nurture. Three limitations are discussed: developmental delay in moral judgment, self-serving cognitive distortions, and deficiencies in social skills. The chapter presents the case of a notoriously antisocial individual, Timothy McVeigh, with particular emphasis on his erroneous “moral” convictions and pseudo-justifications. It argues that McVeigh illustrates how cognitive distortions can preempt or neutralize social perspective-taking, moral understanding, and veridical empathy.

Keywords:   antisocial behavior, Lawrence Kohlberg, Martin Hoffman, self-centration, moral judgment, cognitive distortions, social skills, Timothy McVeigh, moral convictions, social perspective-taking

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