Jan Habl

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Feature Article


This study aims to critically assess the so-called therapeutic approach in moral education, which emerged in the postwar twentieth century, in the western part of the world. The proponents of the approach used different terms to express its essence: value clarification method, or sometimes the decision-making method or the critical thinking method. These philosophies of education have the common feature of a personalistic, non-directive, or client-oriented approach to the individual. Therefore, I will refer to them here as therapeutic. There are many advocates, but some of the most notable should be named: Carl Rodgers, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, Sidney B. Simon, Louis Raths, and Merrill Harmin. For a proper understanding of these approaches, it’s necessary to review first the cultural-ideological context of their origin. After that I will analyze and evaluate their key tenets, which I consider problematic. Specifically, we will scrutinize these prob-lems: (1) the problem of process at the expense of content, (2) the problem of devaluation of the educator’s authority, (3) the problem of blurring of moral concepts and standards, (4) the problem of value pseudo-neutrality and indoctrination, (5) the problem of individualism, subjectivism, and relativism.

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