Moral Development Kohlberg - Kohlbergs Moral Development 1...

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Kohlberg’s Moral Development 1 RUNNING HEAD: Kohlberg’s Moral Development Kohlberg’s Moral Development PSYCH/600 10/25/15 Vicki Koenig Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development
Kohlberg’s Moral Development 2 Lawrence Kohlberg was a professor at Harvard university because of the research he conducted there on moral development, in 1970 (Kohlberg, L. 1984). His work modified and expanded upon Jean Piaget's previous work to form a theory that explained how children develop moral reasoning (Kohlberg, L. 1984). In his study, he expanded Piaget's theory and suggested that moral development is a continual process that occurs throughout the lifespan. In this paper, Kohlberg’s theory on moral development will be summarized. Some of the contributions that Kohlberg made to our understanding of moral development as well as his limitations will be examined. The research of Carol Gilligan on gender differences in moral reasoning will be explained. Summary of Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development According to Berger R. B (2000), Kohlberg “started as a developmental psychologist and then moved to the field of moral education. He was particularly well-known for his theory of moral development which he popularized through research studies conducted at Harvard's Center for Moral Education”. (para. 1). His theory was inspired by Jean Piaget’s work on moral development. Kohlberg believed that people developed in their moral reasoning through a series of stages and he demonstrated it through studies. He holds the thought that there were six identifiable stages which could be more generally classified into three levels. The three levels are; the pre-conventional, conventional and the post-conventional levels. The pre-conventional level has two stages. The first stage is the Obedience and Punishment stage. This stage is the earliest stage of moral development which is common in young children, but adults are also capable of expressing this type of reasoning. At this stage, children see rules as fixed and absolute. Obeying the rules is important because it is a means to avoid punishment. The second stage is the Individualism and Exchange stage. At this stage of moral development,
Kohlberg’s Moral Development 3 children account for individual points of view and judge actions based on how they serve individual needs. The second level is the conventional level which is also classified into two stages. The first stage is the Good Interpersonal Relationships stage. At this stage, moral development is focused on living up to social expectations and roles. There is an emphasis on conformity, being "nice," and consideration of how choices influence relationships, (Kohlberg, L.1973). The other stage in conventional level is Maintaining Social Order. At this stage of moral development, people begin to consider society as a whole when making judgments. The focus is on maintaining law and order by following the rules, doing one’s duty and respecting authority.

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