Lawrence kohlberg essays on moral development

The History of Autonomy a.

Lawrence kohlberg essays on moral development

Update: 2013-201

Moral development involves the formation of a system of values on which to base decisions concerning "right" and "wrong, " or "good" and "bad.

Although morality has been a topic of discussion since the beginning of human civilization, the scientific study of moral development did not begin in earnest until the late s. Lawrence Kohlbergan American psychologist building upon Jean Piaget's work in cognitive reasoning, posited six stages of moral development in his doctoral thesis.

Since that time, morality and moral development have become acceptable subjects of scientific research. Prior to Kohlberg's work, the prevailing positivist view claimed that science should be" value-free"—that morality had no place in scientific studies.

By choosing to study moral development scientifically, Kohlberg broke through the positivist boundary and established morality as a legitimate subject of scientific research. There are several approaches to the study of moral development, which are categorized in a variety of ways.

Briefly, the social learning theory approach claims that humans develop morality by learning the rules of acceptable behavior from their external environment an essentially behaviorist approach. Psychoanalytic theory proposes instead that morality develops through humans' conflict between their instinctual drives and the demands of society.

Cognitive development theories view morality as an outgrowth of cognitionor reasoning, whereas personality theories are holistic in their approach, taking into account all the factors that contribute to human development.

The differences between these approaches rest on two questions: In other words, how moral are infants at birth? And how is "moral maturity" defined? What is the ideal morality to which we aspire?

The contrasting philosophies at the heart of the answers to these questions determine the essential perspective of each moral development theory. Those who believe infants are born with no moral sense tend towards social learning or behaviorist theories as all morality must therefore be learned from the external environment.

Others who believe humans are innately aggressive and completely self-oriented are more likely to accept psychoanalytic theories where morality is the learned management of socially destructive internal drives. Those who believe it is our reasoning abilities that separate us from the rest of creation will find cognitive development theories the most attractive, while those who view humans as holistic beings who are born with a full range of potentialities will most likely be drawn to personality theories.

What constitutes "mature morality" is a subject of great controversy. Each society develops its own set of norms and standards for acceptable behavior, leading many to say that morality is entirely culturally conditioned. Does this mean there are no universal truths, no cross-cultural standards for human behavior?

The debate over this question fuels the critiques of many moral development theories.

Kohlberg's six stages of moral development, for example, have been criticized for elevating Western, urban, intellectual upper class understandings of morality, while discrediting rural, tribal, working class, or Eastern moral understandings.

See Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoning. Feminists have pointed out potential sexist elements in moral development theories devised by male researchers using male subjects only such as Kohlberg's early work.

Because women's experience in the world is different from men's in every cultureit would stand to reason that women's moral development might differ from men's, perhaps in significant ways.

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Definitions of what is or is not moral are currently in a state of upheaval within individual societies as well as, at least, in the Western world.

Controversies rage over the morality of warfare especially nuclearecological conservation, genetic research and manipulation, alternative fertility and childbearing methods, abortionsexualitypornographydrug use, euthanasia, racismsexism, and human rights issues, among others.

Determining the limits of moral behavior becomes increasingly difficult as human capabilities, choices, and responsibilities proliferate with advances in technology and scientific knowledge.

For example, prenatal testing techniques that determine birth defects in utero force parents to make new moral choices about whether to birth a child. Other examples of recently created moral questions abound in modern-day society.

Lawrence kohlberg essays on moral development

Therefore, the study of moral development is lively today. The rise in crime, drug and alcohol abuse, gang violence, teen parenthood, and suicide in recent years in Western society has also caused a rise in concern over morality and moral development.

Parents and teachers want to know how to raise moral children, and they turn to moral development theorists to find the answers. Freudian personality theories became more widely known to the Western public in the s and were understood to imply that repression of a child's natural drives would lead to neuroses.

Many parents and teachers were therefore afraid to discipline their children, and permissiveness became the rule. Cognitive development theories did little to change things, as they focus on reasoning and disregard behavior.

After a great deal of criticism in this regard, Kohlberg and other cognitive development theorists did begin to include moral actions in their discussions and education programs, but their emphasis is still on reasoning alone.Moral Development.

Lawrence kohlberg essays on moral development

This entry analyzes moral development as a perennial philosophical view complemented by modern empirical research programs. The two initial sections summarize what moral development is and why it is important for ethics and human nature theory.

Lawrence Kohlberg Psychologist Born Oct. 25, Died Jan. 19, (at age 59) Nationality American Kohlberg’s revolutionary Theory of Stages of Moral Development helped establish his reputation as a brilliant thinker in the field of psychology. Studying the topic of moral development was certainly not a new pursuit as philosophers had been doing it.

The Psychology of Moral Development: The Nature and Validity of Moral Stages (Essays on Moral Development, Volume 2) [Lawrence Kohlberg] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

Featured. Click on the "gear" button at the bottom of the video to view presenter notes. Kohlberg's theory of moral development Lawrence Kohlberg, an American psychologist, extended Piaget's work in cognitive reasoning into adolescence and adulthood.

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He felt that moral development was a slow process and evolved over time. Lawrence Kohlberg conducted research on the moral development of children. He wanted to understand how they develop a sense of right or wrong and how justice is served. Kohlberg used surveys in which he included moral dilemmas where he asked the subjects to evaluate a moral conflict.

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