The Four Stages Of Kohlberg's Moral Development

Decent Essays
Kristene Marie M. Garcia September 5, 2017
4TE2 EEE

Lawrence Kohlberg explain the moral development of children, which he believed follows a series of stages. According to the theory, moral reasoning develops in six stages, each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than the he work of Jean Piaget. Kohlberg also defined three levels of moral development which is the Pre-Conventional, Conventional, and Post-conventional and each level has two distinct stages.
The six stages of Kolhberg’s moral development
1. Pre-Conventional Morality
A child's sense of morality is externally controlled. Children accept and believe the rules of their parents and teachers, and they judge an action based on its consequences.
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A person's sense of morality is defined in terms of more abstract principles and values. Moral reasoning is based on individual rights and justice. People now believe that some laws are unjust and should be changed or eliminated. This level is marked by a growing realization that individuals are separate entities from society and that individuals may disobey rules inconsistent with their own principles. Post-conventional moralists live by their own ethical principle that typically include such basic human rights as life, liberty, and justice and view rules as useful but changeable rather than absolute dictates that must be obeyed without question.
Stage 5- Social Contract Orientation At this stage, the individual becomes aware that while rules and laws might exist for the good of the greatest number. People understand that there are opposite opinions out there on what is right and wrong and that laws are really just a social contract based on majority decision and inevitable compromise. People at this stage sometimes disobey rules if they find them to be inconsistent with their personal values and will also argue for certain laws to be changed if they are no longer working.
Example: It can't be right that huge corporations sometimes pay no taxes that law needs to be changed, so that the burden of taxes falls more equally on everyone's
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The people follow a moral code based on universal principles that grant all individuals certain basic rights. The chosen principles are abstract rather than concrete and focus on ideas such as equality, dignity, or respect. In this stage they have developed their own set of moral guidelines which may or may not fit the law. The individual choose the ethical principles they want to follow, and if they violate those principles, they feel guilty. In this way, the individual acts because it is morally right to do and not because he or she wants to avoid

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