Kohlberg Model; Stages of Moral Development

  • The Kohlberg Model

    The theory holds that moral reasoning, the basis for ethical behavior, has six identifiable developmental stages, each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than its predecessor. Kohlberg followed the development of moral judgment far beyond the ages studied earlier by Piaget, who also claimed that logic and morality develop through constructive stages
  • Examples pf a Moral Dillema, Heniz goes to Europe

    Heinz's wife was near death, and her only hope was a drug that had been discovered by a pharmacist who was selling it for an exorbitant price. The drug cost $20,000 to make, and the pharmacist was selling it for $200,000. Heinz could only raise $50,000 and insurance wouldn't make up the difference. He offered what he had to the pharmacist, and when his offer was rejected, Heinz said he would pay the rest later. Still the pharmacist refused. In desperation, Heinz considered stealing the drug.
  • Pre-conventional level (Childrens and Delinquents)

    Reasoners at this level judge the morality of an action its direct consequences.
  • Stage 1; The Stage of Punishment and obedience. PUNISHMENT ORIENTATION.

    Actions are evaluated in terms of possible punishment,not goodness or badness; obedience to power. It is "egocentric", lacking recognition that others' points of view are different from one's own. There is "deference to superior power or prestige".[
  • Example of Stage 1

    Michael shouldn't muder Matt because the police will arrest him.
  • Stage 2; The stage of individual instrumental purpose and exchange. PLEASURE-SEEKING ORIENTATION.

    Proper action is determined by one's own needs; concern for the needs of others is largely a matter of 'You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours', not of loyalty, gratitude or justice. The lack of a societal perspective in the pre-conventional level is quite different from the social contract (stage five), as all actions have the purpose of serving the individual's own needs or interests.
  • Example of Stage 2

    If Michael kills Matt he will be a much happier person, even if he will get expelled from school.
  • Conventional Level. Older children and Adults.

    Those who reason in a conventional way judge the morality of actions by comparing them to society's views and expectations. Learn the nature of the authority, not only within family, but within society.
  • Stage 3. Stage of mutual interpersonal expectations, relationships and conformity.GOOD BOY/GIRL ORIENTATION.

    Good behaviour is that which pleases others in the immediate group or which brings approval the emphasis is on 'being nice'. Desire to maintain rules and authority exists only to further support these social roles.
  • Example of Stage 3

    Michael shouldn't murders Matt, because the psychology class will think he is crazy. Nobody wants to be in a psychology class with a crazy murderer.
  • Stage 4. The Stage of Social System and Conscience Maintenance. AUTHORITY ORIENTATION.

    The emphasis on upholding law, order and authority, doing ones duty and following social rules. They ive to maintain the welfare of society and uphold the rules of social system. Most active members of society remain at stage four, where morality is still predominantly dictated by an outside force. If one person violates a law, perhaps everyone would—thus there is an obligation and a duty to uphold laws and rules. When someone does violate a law, it is morally wrong.
  • Example of Stage 4

    Michael shouldn't kill Matt, because it is against the law and is everyone is equal in the eyes of the law.
  • Post conventional level (small percentage of adults).

    Also known as the principled level, is marked by a growing realisation that individuals are separate entities from society, and that the individual's own perspective may take precedures over society's view; individuals may disobey rules inconsistent with their own principles. Rules are not absolute dictates that must be obeyed without question. Because post-conventional individuals elevate their own moral evaluation of a situation over social conventions, their behavior, especially at stage six,
  • Stage 5. The stage of prior rights and social-contract or utility. SOCIAL CONTRACT ORIENTATION.

    Support of laws and rules is based on rational analysis and mutual agreement; rules are recognised as open to question, but are upheld for the good of the community and the name of democratic values. Emotional bonds and relationships are put aside.
  • Example of Stage 5

    Michael should not kill Matt, Matt has not done anything too drastic and does not deserve to be killed.
  • Stage 6. The stage of universal ethical princple. MORALITY OF INDIVIUDAL PRINCIPLES.

    Behavious directed by self chosen ethical principles that tend to be general or universal. High value is based on justice dignity and respect. These principles are facts of life that are recognised around the world. This involves an individual imagining what they would do in another’s shoes, if they believed what that other person imagines to be true.[
  • Example of Stage 6

    Michael should not kill Matt, because it is taking away a human life. Every human life is precious.
  • Critiscisms.

    Many people would argue Kohlberg's theory was not culturally neutral. Although they progress through the stages ibn the same order, individuals in different cultures seem to do so at different rates.
  • Critiscisms.

    Other psychologists have questioned the assumption that moral action is primarily a result of formal reasoning. Social intuitionists, argue that individuals often make moral judgements without weighing concerns such as fairness, law, human rights or abstract ethical values.