Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Moral Development Part 3:

Some things to keep in mind about Kohlberg:  1. The stages are not necessarily a product of maturation. The stages do not unfold like a blue print. 2. Kohlberg also does not believe that the stages are a product of socialization. This means that they are not taught directly by a teacher, parent…. 3. He believes the stages emerge from our own thinking about moral problems. So, social influences put us into certain situations in which we may need to think about the dilemmas. Another way is the debates that we have with others will also make us ponder and think. This can also occur when we take on new roles and we are forced to consider others’ viewpoints.   Kohlberg believes the more democratic and open interactions are the better the results of moral progression.

Level 2 Conventional Morality: Stage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships:
Most people reach this stage by their teens. In this stage morality is seen as more than just deals. The person is starting to believe that they must live up to expectations of others. The person is starting to have interpersonal feelings such as love, empathy, trust, and concern for others. In our example from a couple of days ago Heinz is seen as doing good and the druggist is “greedy,” only thinking of himself. This is where the concept of the loving husband, unfair druggist, and understanding judge comes in to play. It is referred to conventional morality because generally speaking the person would say it is wrong to steal but in special circumstances it is okay. Here the person has shifted to a more relativistic outlook.

Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order:
This is characterized by a broader understanding of society as a whole, whereas stage 3 is looking more into the feelings of individual’s, generally one on one.  The emphasis in this stage is obeying the laws to make sure that order is maintained. They look at the example and ask, “What would happen if we all started to break the laws?” Here you will see that stage 1 and stage 4 answers are similar but the why is different. Stage 1 is looking at only being punished. If I could get away with it then I would do it, whereas in stage 4 the person is looking at the better of the whole.  Stage 4 has a deeper meaning to the reason why in which a stage 1 person could never understand.

I appreciate all of the comments that I have been receiving on these posts and I am glad that you have enjoyed them. Thanks Emily for the example of Harry Potter it was excellent example for that stage. What are some examples of characters in books or movies for these stages? How do we put our characters into debates to help them change their moral thinking without boring the reader? Can a person grow without changing the level of morality he/she is in? 


  1. #3 is one that can easily errode outside of the persons direct influence, especially in the nomadic society we have become...this i am sure ends up affecting other stages, as i can def see it with #4...

  2. Thanks for all the group background knowledge. I'd love to know what you think of the psychology behind the characters in the novel 'Ice Cream Girls' by Dorothy Koomson. :O)

  3. I find it interesting that a lot of the dystopic novels are Stage 4 to the extreme. In Matched and The Giver the society does everything they possibly can to maintain order for the better of everyone (when it isn't actually better). This is great Josh. Thanks for all of the good information.


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