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Running head: KOHLBERG’S MORAL DEVELOPMENT PAPER 1 Kohlberg’s Moral Development Paper Karla Knight, Latresha Colar, Nai Mcgee, Ruth Rivera, PSYCH 600 October 14, 2019 Rollo Jones
KOHLBERG’S MORAL DEVELOPMENT PAPER 2 Human development has been the interest of many scholars, philosophical thinkers, and psychologists throughout the history of psychology. Human development is different in each person and various factors influences development. The world systems that we live by are governed by laws, policies, religious beliefs, spiritual values, etc. All these governing standards or principles influences human behavior in significant ways, however the most powerful influencer of human behavior may be our moral compass. Morality is comprised of our personal beliefs, values, mannerisms, and is the guiding principle of choosing what is right and wrong. This analysis explores the theorical framework of Lawrence Kohlberg, an American psychologist who is best known for his theory of moral development. Kohlberg’s Theory According to McLeod (2013), Lawrence Kohlberg was an all-American psychologist, who “agreed with Piaget’s theory of moral development, but wanted to develop his ideas further” (para 1). While there seems to be “some tension in the moral development community concerning the conflict between Kohlberg’s view of morality,” there seems to be a great admiration for Kohlberg’s “cognitive theory” (Jorgensen, 2006, p 179-180). Contribution of Moral Development There are three levels and six stages to Kohlberg’s theory. Level 1: Pre-conventional morality, includes stages 1 and 2, which addresses “obedience and punishment orientation” and “individualism and exchange.” Essentially, Kohlberg’s theory indicates that children nine years old and younger (and in some cases, over nine) are not subjected to the “code of morality.” Basically, what he is saying is that, children are “shaped by the standards of adults and the
KOHLBERG’S MORAL DEVELOPMENT PAPER 3 consequences of following or breaking their rules” (McLeod, 2013, p 2). In stages 1 and 2, Kohlberg’s theory of obedience and punishment, he indicates that if a child is punished, he must have done something wrong. Giving the understanding that if a child obeys, there is no need for punishment. His theory also suggests that at this age, children “recognize that there is not just one right view that is handed down by the authorities; that different people have different points of view” (McLeod, 2013, p 2). Levels 2 and 3 of Kohlberg’s theory addresses “conventional and post-conventional morality” and its stages (3-6) are “good interpersonal relationships and maintaining the social order, social contract and individual rights, and universal principles” (McLeod, 2013, p 2). At the “conventional morality” level, Kohlberg indicates that adolescents and adults begin to

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