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Parens, H. (1992). The Emergence of Morality in Children: Edited by Jerome Kagan and Sharon Lamb. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press, 1987, 354 pp., $24.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:261-267.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:261-267

The Emergence of Morality in Children: Edited by Jerome Kagan and Sharon Lamb. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press, 1987, 354 pp., $24.95.

Review by:
Henri Parens, M.D.

This book is a distinguished interdisciplinary effort. Some of the best contemporary minds present their ideas, their own research on the beginnings of morality, and their respective discipline's current thinking.

I review this book with paradoxical thoughts. I value it for its interdisciplinary effort and take this opportunity to call for more interdisciplinary symposia, study groups, and compilations of written reports. On the other hand, regrettably for the psychoanalyst, the book loses in importance—except for those whose interest also hovers at the periphery of psychoanalysis—because the major foci of interest and the questions argued are substantially removed from the psychoanalyst's concerns and understanding of the origins of morality. It is impressive how little the contributors to the book—with the exception of R. N. Emde et al.—take into account or address the contributions to the collective theory of moral development made by psychoanalysis.

In reading the text I experienced mixed feelings of pleasant familiarity and rapprochement with varying schools of thought when concepts endemic to the psychoanalyst's work were used by the nonanalyst scholars, side by side with distancing and waning interest when the researchers' preoccupations turned to questions of lesser concern to the psychoanalytic clinician or theorist. For example, "Whether young children are biologically prepared to display a moral sense as they approach their second birthday" (p. ix—x) is fascinating to the analyst, whereas "the usefulness of the theoretical distinction between conventional and principled moral standards" (pp. xi—xii) rouses much less interest. But the interdisciplinary not only looking over the fence, but even interpenetration into areas that become common ground for differing disciplines, that most salutary phenomenon, is perhaps nowhere more noteworthy than in Kagan's that "some philosophers have begun to accommodate [their inquiries] to psychological data" (p. xv).

Of course, the questions asked differ among the disciplines represented (e.g.,

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