This study makes no attempt at a comprehensive history of
ethics. It rather approaches some representative theories from
the standpoint of the thesis that morality is the socialized
behaviour of the integrated personality. The interest is primarily in what tendencies these various theories consider to be
innate in man; in their treatment of the socialization of the
individual; and of the integration of the personality; in their
suggested solutions to the ego -alter conflict; and in their
consideration of religion as an integrative force within the
The experimental section makes no attempt to measure
morality or moral traits, for it is difficult, if indeed it be
possible, for a laboratorial test situation, which would be a
necessary prerequisite to such measurement, to elicit natural
moral reactions from subjects. Furthermore, the objective
measurement of morality would necessitate the establishment
of a norm as a standard which, when it has been secured, is,
after all, a somewhat arbitrary gauge for measuring what
many think to be incommensurable. Henri Clavier (1) speaks to
the point in these words: " There is no algebra or arithmetic
of the soul, neither a physics, a chemistry, nor a physiology ".
This study, rather, tries to discover what development of
moral ideas takes place in the mind of the child in early adolescence, in that period of growth when self -consciousness
and moral responsibility are thought to become manifest.
The method used is the group questionnaire. Since words
are but the symbols of ideas, it is assumed that ethical ideas
and moral vocabulary develop together. It may be objected that
words carry varying shades of meaning for various children;
but this difficulty inheres in language itself. It may be
further held that the questionnaire measures intelligence by
means of a moral vocabulary; but even if this be the case,
such measurement of intelligence does not exclude a simultaneous
measurement of moral ideas.
The questions of the test are based upon the theory that
central to the development of moral behaviour is the development, within society, of the self -regarding sentiment.
Some writers hold that morality is merely custom, a social phenomenon. Others hold that ethics treats of what ought
to be, that it is constituted of those principles which determine the true worth of ultimate ends of conduct. The present
essay presents the thesis that the criteria of morality are
two: first, socialization of behaviour; second, integration
of the personality around a worthy master sentiment.
Although "meta- psychological" theories are not.legitimately a part of psychology, this essay, in one instance,
dares to trespass slightly upon metaphysical territory, because in this case that field is not wholly foreign to the
present thesis. This transgression is noted where made.
"Ideas" are considered to be simply the conditions of
one's thinking upon any subject - the " enduring cognitive
dispositions and systems of dispositions "
"Concepts ", in addition, are thought of as partaking of
the nature of the universal rather than of the particular.
"Ideals" are those constructs of the imagination and reflection which embody highest values; they serve as archetypes
for the determination of the copy. ideals are mental constructs
" in which needs find their fulfilment".