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Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

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1 Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

2 Who was Lawrence Kohlberg? 1927 - 1983
Born in New York City in 1927. Graduated from the University of Chicago in one year. Attended Yale and earned a PhD in psychology. Became fascinated by moral development in children. Theorized six stages of human moral development.

3 Stage #1:Obedience and Punishment Orientation
Morality is based upon the physical punishment that follows an action, rather than right or wrong. The concern is for self - "Will I get into trouble for doing (or not doing) it?" Good behavior is associated with avoiding punishment. EX: The child won’t grab the candy at the supermarket for fear of being spanked.

4 Stage #2: Relativist Orientation
The concern is "What's in it for me?" Action is judged right if it helps in satisfying one's needs or involves a fair exchange. EX: A mother tells her child: “If you are quiet at the mall, I will buy you an ice cream.”

5 Stage #3: Good Boy/Nice Girl Orientation
People should live up to the expectations of the family and community and behave in "good" ways. Good behavior means having good motives and interpersonal feelings such as love, empathy, trust, and concern for others. EX: Volunteering at a nursing home is the right thing to do.

6 Stage #4: Law and Order Orientation
While stage three actions are more concerned with pleasing your family, stage four is associated with following society as a whole. Emphasis is spent on obeying laws to maintain social order. EX: If you drink and drive your endangering the lives of others on the road, not just yourself.

7 Stage #5: Social Contract Orientation
At stage 4, people want to keep society functioning. However, a smoothly functioning society is not necessarily a good one. Nazi Germany was a well organized society, but nine million were murdered in the process. At stage 5, people begin to ask, "What makes for a good society?" They begin to think about society considering the rights and values that a society ought to uphold. EX: It is important for the world to stop the killing in Darfur because we are morally obligated to stop genocide.

8 Stage #6: Universal Ethical Principal Orientation
As human beings we are obligated to live by the principal that “all men are created equal” regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or political belief. Justice is universal, so unjust laws must be broken. EX: Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus because it was an unjust law discriminating against African Americans.

9 Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development in Huck Finn
Huck must ultimately decide whether he should return Jim back to his master. Huck must choose between obeying the laws of his society (support slavery), or being loyal to his friend Jim (help him to escape to freedom).

10 Please Stand for Think on Your Feet

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