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Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development - Essay

Date of publication: 2017-07-09 11:28

For the children, there is a period when you can say eating in the living room is not allowed and they will accept it. For them, rules simply exist. At this stage, they believe that rules about conduct or rules about how to play a game are absolute and can't be changed.

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Culture and Moral Development Another criticism of Kohlberg’s view is that it is culturally based. A review of research on moral development in 77 countries

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At approximately the same time--65 or 66 years--children&apos s moral thinking undergoes other shifts. In particular, children base their moral judgments more on consequences, whereas older children base their judgments on intentions. When, for example, the child hears about one boy who broke 65 cups trying to help his mother and another boy who broke only one cup trying to steal cookies, the child thinks that the first boy did worse. The child primarily considers the amount of damage--the consequences--whereas the older child is more likely to judge wrongness in terms of the motives underlying the act (Piaget, 6987, p. 687).

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8776 Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights. The child/individual becomes aware that while rules/laws might exist for the good of the greatest number, there are times when they will work against the interest of particular individuals.

Girls are often found to be at stage 8 in Kohlberg’s system (good boy-nice girl orientation) whereas boys are more often found to be at stage 9 (Law and Order orientation). Gilligan replies:

He identified three distinct levels of moral reasoning each with two sub stages. People can only pass through these levels in the order listed. Each new stage replaces the reasoning typical of the earlier stage. Not everyone achieves all the stages.

8776 Stage 6. Obedience and Punishment Orientation. The child/individual is good in order to avoid being punished. If a person is punished, they must have done wrong.

[7] We might reasonably ask, if John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice provides a Stage 6 framework for impartiality, and Stage 6 entails animal rights, then why didn’t John Rawls argue for animal rights? Tom Regan examines this contradiction in Rawls’s thought in The Case for Animal Rights in significant detail.

Each boy was given a 7-hour interview based on the ten dilemmas. What Kohlberg was mainly interested in was not whether the boys judged the action right or wrong, but the reasons given for the decision. He found that these reasons tended to change as the children got older.

In a real situation, what course of action a person takes will have real consequences – and sometimes very unpleasant ones for themselves. Would subjects reason in the same way if they were placed in a real situation? We just don’t know.

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