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2.Universal Ethical Principles Orientation - At this final stage, right action comes to be defined in terms of moral principles chosen because of their logical comprehensiveness, universality, and consistency.At these stages, the person no longer simply accepts the values and norms of the groups to which he or she belongs. Instead, the person now tries to see situations from a point of view that impartially takes everyone's interests into account. The person questions the laws and values that society has adopted and redefines them in terms of self-chosen moral principles that can be justified in rational terms.Kohlberg's own research found that many people remain stuck at an early stage of moral development. His structure implies that later stages are better than the earlier ones. Kohlberg has been criticized for this implication, and for not offering any argument to back it up.Carol Gilligan(born November 28, 1936) is an American feminist, ethicist, and psychologist best known for her work with and against Lawrence Kohlberg on ethical community and ethical relationships, and certain subject-object problems in ethics. Gilligan would go on to criticize Kohlberg's work. This was based on two things. First, he only studied privileged, white men and boys. She felt that this caused a biased opinion against women. Secondly, in his stage theory of moral development, the male view of individual rights and rules was considered a higher stage than women's point of view of development in terms of its caring effect on human relationships. Women were taught to care for other people and expect others to care for them. She helped to form a new psychology for women by listening to them and rethinking the meaning of self and selfishness. She asked four questions about women's voices: who is speaking, in what body, telling what story, and in what cultural framework is the story presented?She outlines three stages of moral development progressing from selfish, to social or conventional morality, and finally to post conventional or principled morality. Women must learn to tend to their own interests and to the interests of others. She thinks that women hesitate to judge because they see the complexities of relationships.Gilligan proposes a stage theory of moral development for women. If you know anything about developmental psychology, you know stage theories are important. But in fact there are alternatives to stage theories that we will not cover in this class. Much of the research in current developmental psychology is not focused on stages, and does not assume their primacy in explaining developmental progress. Instead, many developmental psychologists look carefully at how some particular skill (e.g. drawing, abstract thinking, thinking about other people, making excuses, helping others) develops over time. Much of this research suggests that the stage theories are too simplistic in their picture of changes in skills, attributes, and competencies over time.
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