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"The higher the moral and cognitive development, the more capable one is of functioning effectively in these spheres."

Is "the" after "higher" necessary?

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lifelong learnerIs "the" after "higher" necessary?

Yes.

CJ

Comments  
lifelong learnerIs "the" after "higher" necessary?

Yes. You can think of this as equivalent to "The higher (that) the moral and cognitive development (is), the more capable one is of functioning effectively in these spheres." The formula is "the comparative adjective the noun, the logical consequence." Without "the", the reader sees "The higher moral and cognitive development", and the formula breaks down because the reader thinks that that will be the subject of the sentence and has to go on grammar safari when hits the comma.

The sentence is a bit off, though. I would expect "one's" in place of your "the", because that seems to be what it means.