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KOHLBER’S MORAL DEVELOPMENT
(h/t: Rosenborg Predmetsky)
Level 1. Preconventional Morality
The earliest stage of moral development, obedience, and punishment is especially common in young children, but adults are also capable of expressing this type of reasoning. At this stage, Kohlberg says, children see rules as fixed and absolute. Obeying the rules is important because it is a means to avoid punishment.
At the individualism and exchange stage of moral development, children account for individual points of view and judge actions based on how they serve individual needs. In the Heinz dilemma, children argued that the best course of action was the choice that best-served Heinzâs needs. Reciprocity is possible at this point in moral development, but only if it serves one’s own interests.
Level 2. Conventional Morality
Often referred to as the “good boy-good girl” orientation, the interpersonal relationships stage of moral development is focused on living up to social expectations and roles. There is an emphasis on conformity, being “nice,” and consideration of how choices influence relationships.
This stage is focused on maintaining social order. At this stage of moral development, people begin to consider society as a whole when making judgments. The focus is on maintaining law and order by following the rules, doing oneâs duty and respecting authority.
Level 3. Postconventional Morality
The ideas of a social contract and individual rights cause people in the next stage to begin to account for the differing values, opinions, and beliefs of other people. Rules of law are important for maintaining a society, but members of the society should agree upon these standards.
Kohlbergâs final level of moral reasoning is based on universal ethical principles and abstract reasoning. At this stage, people follow these internalized principles of justice, even if they conflict with laws and rules.