Title: Meaning in the Lives of Older Adults

Description: This work attempts to advance our understanCoverding of how we as human beings perceive, judge, and evaluate our lives, particularly in the last stage of the life cycle. It counterbalances the predominantly quantitative approach to meaning in life (MIL) by interviewing older adults as they reflected on and attempted to find purpose and value in the totality of their experiences. These participants reported that life has been and continues to be meaningful, and they attributed their sense of meaning to relationships, agency and control, helping others, and faith. It also investigated Quality of Life (QOL). Older adults reported that life has and continues to be of high quality. In fact, their QOL estimates were higher than those of a comparison sample of college students. The relationship between QOL and MIL was explored. QOL estimates did not predict MIL estimates. This finding suggests that Quality of Life and Meaning in Life were conceptually distinct for this sample of older adults as they contemplated the inevitability of a finite existence and, from this perspective, reviewed the life they have lived, hoping to achieve a sense of what Erik Erikson called integrity.


Title: Aristotle’s Account of Moral Development

Date: Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, Feb 18, 2013

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Aristotle’s rich account of moral development in children is an ideal vehicle for modern developmental psychologists. His psychology is inherently developmental because he considered actual change to be based on the individual’s potential and to be cumulative. It is also functionalist (psychological states are defined by their operation) and teleological (psychological processes are organized around their outcomes). Aristotle’s ethical system rests on the assumption that the most general goal of a person’s actions is that of producing a flourishing and social life. He argues that ethical development proceeds through three processes: perceiving morally relevant situations, making reasonable ethical decisions, and participating in a fruitful communal life. Navigating through each of these phases requires “moral habituation” which produces a “settled character,” oriented toward producing ethical outcomes for actions. Comparing Aristotle’s account with important modern theories reveals that his is both more encompassing in its range and less encumbered by stage sequence, intellectualist, or subjectivist assumptions. Linking moral development to both philosophical ethics and biological functioning, Aristotle’s theory remains today the most systematic and comprehensive analysis of ethical development, and psychologists would be well served to become familiar with it. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)