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Unformatted text preview: 1 Kohlberg's Moral Development Victor Rosales, Keisha Edwards, Rosalinda Littlejohn PSYCH/600 February 19, 2018 Rollo Jones 2 Kohlberg's Moral Development Introduction As we get older we start to use moral development or moral reasoning in ways that we never did before and we use it in more ways than a younger individual would. Moral development does play a big part in how we are able to interact with others on a more social level. This paper will touch on how Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development theory, what contributions that was made to our understanding of moral development, what are three limitations of Kohlberg’s theory and Carol Gilligan’s gender differences in moral reasoning. Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development Kohlberg’s recommends that individuals pass through 3 stages of moral development. Pre-conventional is where morality is determined by what the individual has reinforced to them. Conventional is where morality is determined by what the individual learns about society and rules of movements. Lastly, Post-conventional is where an individual develops their own morality through cognitive. But there are many causes in that depending on a person’s situation folks to go through the 3 stages of development. Three Contributions of Moral Development Kohlberg’s theory states about steps of development ‘’Pre-conventional level’’ step one ‘’punishment and obedience’’ tells about the physical imports of action determine its goodness or badness. In Step two ‘’instrumental relativist orientation’’ says about individuals adopts directions and will sometimes subordinate own needs to those of the group which in this step behavior is driven by self-interest. For example, ‘’help me ill help you’’ it’s a faze most 3 individuals would use because it would benefit both of them. Conventional stage ‘’good boygood girl’’ orientation states about good conduct is whatever pleases or helps others and is accepted by them. In step four is ‘’Law & order’’ orientation which folks define own values in terms of moral principles they have chosen to follow. In step five universal ethical principle orientations relates on social contract in which behavior is driven by the stability of social order and individual’s rights, defined by self-chosen ethical principles. Step six ‘’social contract orientation’’ is driven by one’s own moral principles. Three Limitations of Kohlberg’s Theory. Moral development is the way that we think or the patterns of thinking through experience-based problem solving, and how individuals must be engaged mentally in order to progress to higher levels of moral stages (Hayes, 1994). According to Melenciano, (2006), An important step in the attainment of moral reasoning is the ability to judge the arguments of others, and the cognitive ability to understand the thoughts of another requires maturity and intent. Lawrance Kohlberg did a 20-yr. study on moral development and how he viewed and compared other theories such as behavioral and psychoanalytic theories to his cognitive developmental approach to moral reasoning. There are three limitations that Kohlberg used to understand moral development in which he based his moral development on Jean Piaget’s theory of moral judgement for children. Level 1, of Kohlberg’s moral development, Preconventional level, this is the first level where morality is externally controlled. With this level/stages there are rules laid down by 4 authority figures, meaning that one will conform to the authority figure to avoid punishment or to receive a reward (Sanders, 2018). Level 2, of Kohlberg’s moral development, Conventional level, this is the stage in which a person is influenced by social rules and those rules are important to the individual. With this level/stage the person’s behavior is based on social approval and relationships with other people and social systems. Social rules and laws will have determined the person’s behavior and the individual will take into consideration a larger perspective, that is societal laws and their moral decisions will become more than considerations of close ties to others (Sanders, 2018). Level 3, of Kohlberg’s moral development, is Postconventional or principled level. With this level/stages the individual will move beyond the perspective of his or her own society. Their morality will be/is defined in terms of abstract principles and values that apply to all situations and societies. The individual will view laws and rules as flexible tools for improving human purposes, and in the right situation there are exceptions to rules (Melenciano, 2006). According to Kohlberg, this is the highest stage of functioning, and he claimed that some individual will never reach this level, and that at is this stage appropriate action is determined by one’s selfchosen ethical principles of conscience (Melenciano, 2006). Carol Gilligan research on Gender Differences in Moral Reasoning? Carol Gilligan started her career as a writer after majoring in literature in 1958. She went to Harvard University where she earned her doctorate in social psychology and later taught psychology. The Harvard School of Education: Faculty Profile (2001) shows that she worked in tandem with a well-known psychologist, Erik Erikson, and worked as an assistant in the research conducted by Kohlberg. The theory put forward by Kohlberg was based on a study 5 conducted for white American male subjects who belonged to the upper class. Because of this profile, Gilligan believed that the resulting theory could not be generalized to include application to women. These thoughts were the initial points of focus that became the precursor for Gilligan’s research on moral development in women. She opposed Kohlberg’s seeming allusion that women had lesser rights than men. Gilligan’s research took off from her interviews with young male adults before they joined the war in Vietnam and young women who were contemplating abortions (Harvard School of Education: Faculty Profile, 2001). Gilligan states, “There are distinct characteristics between the male and female genders that significantly impact on the manner they handle moral rationalization and dilemmas,” (Wolfinger & Newcomb, 1999). Women tend to naturally care for each other. This character encourages others to reciprocate this caring attitude. There are four major elements of Gilligan's theory that include body gestures, the speakers’ identity, empathy through a story, and the culture and value base of the story. Gilligan delved deeper into the story, stating the moral development research from early stages and going through the stages to adulthood. From the female gender's perspective, moral development hinges heavily on the sense of nurturing, accountability, social role, and awareness of the consequence of their actions. Women typically take the backseat; sacrificing is their second nature, if not the first. Gilligan later recommends that women must learn to think of their welfare ahead of others because they are not depriving others when they do this. Instead, it allows for better and more harmonious relationships. While men tend to think less of others, women do not. And this can be attributed to the bond that they have with their mothers (Gilligan, 1982) Conclusion 6 Kohlberg theory of moral development and how this has contributed to other studies on the matter is well known and offers valuable insight to the reader. The method presents three levels: the pre-conventional level, the conventional level, and the post-conventional or morality level. Kohlberg's theory allows us to sense how we ought to confront moral dilemmas. References 7 Harvard School of Education: Faculty Profile. (2001). Retrieved from Kohlberg Moral Development Theory. (2016). Retrieved from Melenciano, S. (2006). Moral Development (Order No. 1449481). ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global (304914150). Retrieved from Sanders, C. E. (2018). Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development. In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from e-Kohlbergs-stages-of-moral-development/627328 Wolfinger, N. H., Rabow, J., & Newcomb, M. D. (1999). The different voices of helping: Gender differences in recounting dilemmas. Gender Issues, 17(3), 70-86. Retrieved from ...
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