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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: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190878214

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190878214.001.0001

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Beyond the Theories

Beyond the Theories

A Deeper Reality?

(p.235) 9 Beyond the Theories
Moral Development and Reality

John C. Gibbs

Oxford University Press

This chapter goes beyond Kohlberg’s, Hoffman’s, and Haidt’s theories to consider the question of a deeper reality. As noted, Kohlberg argued that existential thinkers in their soul-searching sometimes come to see their earthly moral life from an inspiring “cosmic perspective.” Perhaps such a reality can be glimpsed not only through existential crises, but also through physically life-threatening ones. Accordingly, this chapter studies cases of persons who have had a so-called near-death experience (“When some people come close to death, they go through a profound experience that may include a sense of leaving the body and entering some other realm or dimension” [Greyson]). A review of the literature—especially, recent medical research literature—suggests that the experience entails a transcendent significance congruent with Kohlberg’s cosmic perspective. In this light, “growing beyond the superficial” and “taking the perspectives of others” take on radical new meaning.

Keywords:   existential crisis, ontology (philosophy), near-death experience, cosmic perspective, death

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