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Moral Reasoning. What is Moral Reasoning? l contains the rules and standards for what people should do l ability to discern right from wrong l ability.

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Presentation on theme: "Moral Reasoning. What is Moral Reasoning? l contains the rules and standards for what people should do l ability to discern right from wrong l ability."— Presentation transcript:

1 Moral Reasoning

2 What is Moral Reasoning? l contains the rules and standards for what people should do l ability to discern right from wrong l ability to reason ethically about issues l depends on the use of cognitive skills, a perception of reality, evaluation of experiences, making fine discriminations & generalizations, and reason abstractly

3 Jean Piaget, Barbel Inhelder,et al. l As a child we think concretely and egocentrically, but as an adult we think in more principled, abstract, sociocentric ways l ~ 4-7 yrs - Heteronomous Morality - rules are seen as unchangeable; we have no control over changing them l ~ 10 yrs - Autonomous Morality - children become aware that rules and laws can be changed; must judge a person by intentions as well as the consequences

4 Lawrence Kohlberg l examined moral dilemmas l initial study (1958) with 84 men interviewed every 3 yrs for ~20 years l from this and other initial studies he developed his theory of moral development - 6 stages of how people solve moral dilemmas

5 Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development l Level 1 - Preconventional - egocentric and individual needs »Stage 1 - obedience & punishment »Stage 2 - instrumental relativism don’t question authority; behaviors=individual needs you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours

6 Kohlberg, cont. l Level 2 - Conventional- shared norms and values »Stage 3 - interpersonal concordance »Stage 4 - orientation toward authority & law good behavior is what pleases others; impt to maintain rules; laws are fixed and are to be upheld

7 Kohlberg, cont. l Level 3 - Postconventional- societal values and principled action »Stage 5 - Social Contract Orientation - focus on rights, equality, human dignity; rules can be changed »Stage 6 - Universal ethical principles - place highest value on human life, equality, justice

8 How measure moral reasoning/development? l Most often- individual interview technique, but this is very timely, tedious l J. Rest developed the Defining Issues Test - a paper/pencil instrument which attempts to measure MD

9 The Defining Issues Test (DIT) by James Rest Heinz and the Drug In Europe a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $1,000, which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying, and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said, "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and began to think about breaking into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife.

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11 Carol Gilligan l it’s not that women are less moral, not deficient in some way l they think and speak in a different voice l women have a stronger sense of interconnectedness, relationships, intimacy. l women feel more comfortable when connected with others

12 Gilligan suggests: Women: l use conversation to expand & understand l see people as interdependent l see actions in broad context l like intimacy and connection Men: l use talk to convey information l view themselves as self-reliant l regard events as isolated and discrete l don’t like intimacy and affiliation

13 Gilligan’s Levels of Moral Development l Level 1 - Individual Survival »selfish, egocentric l Level 2 - Care and Responsibility for others »self-sacrificing, altruistic acts l Level 3 - Balance of care for self and others »recognize & legitimize impt. of own needs as well as others

14 Focus for Gilligan is on caring, involvement, connectedness, intimacy While men see issues in terms of justice, women in terms of care (Care vs. justice)

15 Several books on adolescent girls Mapping the Moral Domain, Making Connections, says younger girls are confident, self-assured, but as they move into adolescence and realize the demands of the culture they become unsure, silent

16 Praises and Criticism of Gilligan’s Work l Stiller & Forrest (1990) found men talk in terms of justice, women in terms of caring l McAdams (1988) women scored significantly higher in intimacy motivation l small, skewed samples l overgenderizing - reinforces old stereotypes l undermines struggle for equality l Walker (84) analyzed 61 studies and found majority with no differences in moral reasoning

17 But Gilligan counters: We wouldn’t have to act like men if our society would start appreciating and legitimizing women’s ways of thinking

18 Small Group Exercise l Read and Discuss the moral dilemma l List items/issues to be considered l As a group decide which are the 2 or 3 most important issues to consider

19 Escaped Prisoner A man had been sentenced to prison for 20 years. After one year, he escaped from prison, moved to a new area of the country, and took on the name of Thompson. For 18 years, he worked hard, and gradually saved enough money to buy his own business. He was fair to customers, gave his employees top wages, and gave most of his own profits to charity. Then one day, Mrs. Jones, and old neighbor, recognized him as the man who had escaped from prison 18 years before, and for whom the police had been looking.

20 Which of the following is most important? 1. Hasn't Mr. Thompson been good enough for such a long time to prove he isn't a bad person? 2. Everytime someone escapes punishment for a crime, doesn't that encourage more crime? 3. Wouldn't we be better off without prisons and legal system oppression? 4. Has Mr. Thompson really paid his debt to society? 5. Would society be failing what Mr. Thompson should fairly expect? 6. What benefits would prisons be apart from society, especially for a charitable man. 7. How could anyone be so cruel and heartless as to send Mr. Thompson to prison? 8. Would it be fair to all the prisoners who had to serve out their full sentences if Mr. Thompson was let off? 9. Was Mrs. Jones a good friend of Mr. Thompson? 10. Wouldn't it be a citizen's duty to report an escaped criminal, regardless of the circumstances. 11. How would the will of the people and the public good best be served? 12. Would going to prison do any good for Mr. Thompson or protect anybody?


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