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Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development

What motivates the decisions we make? Lawrence Kohlberg proposed that each of us progress through stages of moral reasoning that affect how we view the world and ultimately, how we interact with it.

Daniel Potter

on 22 August 2011

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Transcript of Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development

Kohlberg's Theory
of Moral Development Lawrence Kohlberg American Psychologist What motivates a
person's decisions? Why do some people seem to
make more responsible daily
choices than others? Is everyone on the same moral level? (distinctions of how decisions
are made that affect the individual
and others) I've got to find out more about this! Let's conduct some research and
study some people! How do people progress
to mature, reasoning adults? *some of this may ring true to you, and some of it may not . . Kohlberg categorized the levels of moral reasoning into the following levels: Level 1:
I don't want to get in trouble. Level 2:
I want a reward. Level 3:
I want to please somebody. Level 4:
I follow the rules. Level 5:
I'm considerate of other people. Level 6:
I have a personal code and I follow it. Level 0:
I'm an animal! At this stage, the individual: has no sense of obligation to anyone else
is self-absorbed
does what he/she wants to
is amoral (no sense of what is right or wrong) believes the world revolves around his/her needs
has no sense of cause and effect
is usually between the ages of 0-7 At this stage, the individual: obeys rules in order to avoid punishment
determines what is right and wrong based on what is punished or allowed
obeys superior authority since that authority makes the rules is responsive to rules that affect his/her well-being
is usually over the age of 7 only performs a favor to get a favor
expects to be rewarded for every non-selfish act performed limits goals to present rewards, not the bigger picture or future outcomes
is usually over the age of 10 At this stage, the individual: At this stage, the individual: does things to make someone else proud (such as parents, friends, teachers) makes most decisions based on what will please these groups feels that intentions are as valid as deeds; expects others to accept these intentions in place of deeds
begins to put himself/herself in others' shoes
may continue in this stage into the 20s At this stage, the individual: believes "the rules are rules, so they need to be followed. They're there for a reason."
doesn't think about the reason, just accepts it may not agree with certain rules, but doesn't consider alternatives to improve them
is part of about 80% of the population that never progresses past this stage At this stage, the individual: has the ability to empathasize or understand the thoughts, feelings, and intentions of others
bases decisions on how they will affect others
understands the reasoning behind rules, and thus complies with them puts an effort into understanding others' perspectives, even if they don't immediately agree with them
believes both parties can benefit in a compromise At this stage, the individual: has a clear vision of what he/she wants
knows how to achieve goals and consistently does so
looks beyond the norm or mediocrity; doesn't settle for less than best understands the rewards of time and effort
personal code keeps others in consideration
believes the dignity of all humanity is sacred, thus each person has value Bonus 7th Level:
Transcendental Morality but bear with me since this will be a key discussion to help establish our learning environment and to understand literature in a new perspective. A proposed (and rare) level where individuals demonstrate a degree of ethical behavior above the six levels
the individual's personal code of behavior can be viewed in a heroic or religious perspective What does this all have to do with you? are ultimately responsible for your choices--not your parents, not your teachers, not anyone else. Just you. are a part of a learning community.
This means your choices, attitude, and behavior affect more than yourself. have the opportunity to decide what level of reasoning will help you make your choices, every day.
You must also be able to accept the consequences (good or bad) of these choices. are invited to develop your own personal code, one that will determine your success not only in this classroom, but in life.
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