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Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development Powerpoint liberally borrowed from Teacher Aaron Portenga Grand Haven High School's%20revised%20PowerPoints/Development/Kohlberg's%20Moral%20Development.ppt.

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Presentation on theme: "Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development Powerpoint liberally borrowed from Teacher Aaron Portenga Grand Haven High School's%20revised%20PowerPoints/Development/Kohlberg's%20Moral%20Development.ppt."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development Powerpoint liberally borrowed from Teacher Aaron Portenga Grand Haven High School

2 Lawrence Kohlberg Author of theory on how moral reasoning develops

3 Kohlberg’s Moral Dilemma
In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the 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 him to make. He paid $400 for the radium and charged $4,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money and tried every legal means, but he could only get together about $2,000, 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, having tried every legal means, Heinz gets desperate and considers breaking into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife. Should Heinz steal the drug? Why or why not?


5 Preconventional Moral Reasoning
Stages 1 & 2

6 Stage 1: Punishment & Obedience
A focus on direct consequences Negative actions will result in punishments EXAMPLE: Heinz shouldn’t steal the drug because he’d go to jail if he got caught.

7 Stage 2: Mutual Benefit Getting what one wants often requires giving something up in return “Right” is a fair exchange. Morals guided by what is “fair” EXAMPLE: Heinz should steal the drug because the druggist is being greedy by charging so much.

8 Conventional Moral Reasoning
Stages 3 & 4

9 Stage 3: Interpersonal Expectations
An attempt to live up to the expectations of important others Follow rules or do what others would want so that you win their approval Negative actions will harm those relationships EXAMPLE: Heinz should try to steal the drug because that’s what a devoted husband would do.

10 Stage 4: Law-and-Order To maintain social order, people must resist personal pressures and follow the laws of the larger society Respect the laws & authority EXAMPLE: Heinz should not steal the drug because that would be against the law and he has duty to uphold the law.

11 Postconventional Moral Reasoning
Stages 5 & 6

12 Stage 5: Legal Principles
Must protect the basic rights of all people by upholding the legal principles of fairness, justice, equality & democracy. Laws that fail to promote general welfare or that violate ethical principles can be changed, reinterpreted, or abandoned EXAMPLE: Heinz should steal the drug because his obligation to save his wife’s life must take precedence over his obligation to respect the druggist’s property rights.

13 Stage 6: Universal Moral Principles
Self-chosen ethical principles Profound respect for sanctity of human life, nonviolence, equality & human dignity Moral principles take precedence over laws that might conflict with them, Conscientious objectors – refuses to be drafted because they are morally opposed to war. EXAMPLE: Heinz should steal the drug even if the person was a stranger and not his wife. He must follow his conscience and not let the druggist’s desire for money outweigh the value of a human life.



16 Criticisms of Kohlberg’s theory
Research has not supported Kohlberg’s belief that the development of abstract thinking in adolescence invariably leads people to the formation of idealistic moral principles Some cross-cultural psychologists argue that Kohlberg’s stories and scoring system reflect a Western emphasis on individual rights, harm, and justice that is not shared in many cultures. Kohlberg’s early research was conducted entirely with male subjects, yet it became the basis for a theory applied to both males and females.

17 Review worksheet!

18 Other Dilemmas to Consider



21 Carol Gilligan’s Model
Feels Kohlberg’s model is based on an ethic of individual rights and justice, which is a more common perspective for males Gilligan’s model of women’s moral development is based on an ethic of care and responsibility. However, when subjects are carefully matched, there do not seem to be systematic gender differences in moral reasoning

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