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Moral realism is pervasive in everyday life, and the more of it the better. The moral realism of everyday life is not childlike egocentric realism, in Piaget's sense, nor is it, as Gabennesch argues, an avoidable or deplorable form of opacity, reification, or ethnocentrism. The social order is part of the moral order, yet natural moral law extends beyond issues of harm, rights, and justice. Turiel is a cognitivist who restricts his conception of natural moral law to harm, rights, and justice. Gabennesch is an emotivist or conventionalist who has no concept of natural moral law at all. I share with Turiel his cognitivism but not his restricted conception of natural law. I share with Gabennesch his reading of the evidence for a pervasive moral realism of everyday life, but not his conventionalist interpretation of it.
Child Development © 1990 Society for Research in Child Development