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Paper Topic:

Kohlberg`s three levels and six stages of moral reasoning

Kohlberg`s Three Levels and Six Stages of Moral Reasoning

Lawrence Kohlberg , a professor of psychology in the University of Chicago , has created his own theory of moral development . The theory is based on children 's reasoning , when facing moral dilemmas , however Kohlberg went far beyond that and created a common theory for all ages Under his theory moral thinking passes through six separate stages which are broken into three levels . This aims to provide a review of stages and levels proposed by Kohlberg

The first level is PRE-CONVENTIONAL . This level is more

characteristic for children , although it is sometimes passed by adults too . At this level an individual considers exclusively direct consequences of an action for himself . Reasoning at this level is purely egoistic and consists of two stages

Stage 1 An individual concentrates only on direct consequences for himself and the main moral deterrence is fear of punishment . Moral futility of an action is estimated by punishment . The more severe is the punishment , the worse an action is

Stage 2 is characterized by limited interest to the needs of others However , this interest is of egocentric . A person is interested in getting something for himself for his /her moral behavior

The second level is CONVENTIONAL . This stage is typical for most adults At this level individuals compare the morality of their actions to social norms and expectations . This level includes the third and fourth stage of moral reasoning

Stage 3 is related to social roles . People act so , as their relatives friends and members of their group act to receive their praise . Actions are evaluated in terms of personal relationships and social stereotypes The main deterrence is fear of authority and fear of social condemnation

Stage 4 is similar to stage 3 , however it is extended as actions are evaluated in terms of laws and social conventions . Individual needs are overcome at this stage and laws are attributed own value . A distinction between right and wrong in this stage is created by culpability of an action

The third level is POST-CONVENTIONAL is also called principled level . Actions are evaluated by an individual before they are evaluated by society . A person becomes morally autonomous . The level includes stages 5 and 6

Stage 5 At this stage an individual comes to understanding , that people hold different views and opinions . Laws are understood not only as rules , but as useful social contracts . Those , who act against common good are considered to be morally bad and those have to be changed . The aim of morals is understood as as much good for as many people as possible , which is achieved by decision of the majority

Stage 6 is characterized by abstract reasoning and universality of ethical principles . An individual comes to understanding that any laws may be justified only to the extent they correspond those universal principles . The social consensus is reached after seeing the situation from another man 's eyes . It is firstly necessary to get full understanding of all moral...

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