Values, Assumptions, and Practices: Assessing the Moral Implications of Psychological Discourse and Action

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257 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite an increased awareness concerning the role of values in psychology, psychologists lack clear guidelines to appraise the moral implications of their work. To address this discrepancy, the author proposes a framework for examining the moral dimensions of psychological discourse and practice. The framework contains 3 central elements: values, assumptions, and practices. These components may be used to articulate and to challenge the ethical, social, and political implications of theories and practices. To illustrate its applicability, the framework is used to evaluate the moral propositions of traditional, empowering, postmodern, and emancipatory communitarian approaches. The author concludes with a vision for addressing the shortcomings of predominant models by proposing for psychology an emancipatory communitarian approach that promotes the emancipation of vulnerable individuals and that fosters a balance among the values of self-determination, caring and compassion, collaboration and democratic participation, human diversity, and distributive justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-535
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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