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Moral Development - Essay Example

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Kohlberg’s theory of moral development is one of the most referred to theories of how moral reasoning develops in people. Kohlberg’s theory followed on Piaget’s theory, but went beyond the childhood years. Kohlberg divided the process of moral development into three levels with two stages in each level; thus he developed a six-stage theory of moral development…
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Moral Development

At this level the child determines goodness or badness of an action by the physical consequences, rather than by thinking about respect for others. The second stage there may be some consideration of others but there must be reciprocity, “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” (Kohlberg 53). In the conventional level an understanding of norms and conventions necessary for the society is developing. People in stage 3 in this level are aware of others’ feelings; they define right and wrong based on what other people close to them expect. They begin to appreciate values such as trust, loyalty and respect. At stage 4 the circle of people to be considered is widening. People now define right in terms of the wider society. Kohlberg called this the ‘law and order’ orientation. In the postconventional level reasoning is based on principles. In stage 5 reasoning is based on ethical fairness principles. Stage 6 represents a high regard for life and human welfare that is universal and not dependent on any particular culture or society. People at this level are thought to act with great conscience and follow abstract ethical principles. ... Read More
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