Lawrence Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development:
Level A (Pre-moral or Pre-Conventional Stages) - Judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences.
Children and some adults.
Stage Motivator
1 Obedience and punishment orientation.
Fear of punishment or respect for authority.
Example:" Daddy says it is wrong to speed on the freeway!"
2 Self-interest orientation.
Sense of fairness -- follow rules only when someone's interest is served.
Marketplace exchange of favors or blows. "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." or vengeance.
Example:" If you speed on the freeway you will get a ticket!"
Level B (Conventional Morality) - Judge the morality of actions by comparing them to society's views and expectations.
Example: "Do not speed on the freeway because it is the law!"
Adolescents and adults.
3 Interpersonal accord and conformity.
Expectations of others and Golden rule and "basic values".
"Everybody is doing it."
Example: " I won't speed on the freeway because a policeman will give me a speeding ticket!"
4 Authority and social-order maintaining orientation.
Generalized moral system, rules and duties; a kind of categorical imperative.
Injustice is failing to reward work or punish demerit.
Respect for authority, "He must be right. He's the Pope (or the President, or the Judge, or God)."
Example: "Do not speed on the freeway because it is the law!"
Level C (Post-Conventional or Principled Morality) - The individual's own perspective may take precedence over society's view.
These people live by their own abstract principles about right and wrong--principles that typically include such basic human rights as life, liberty, and justice.
Many people may never reach this level of abstract moral reasoning.
5 Social Contract and Individual Rights.
Values relative the one's group, but understand implied social contract; utilitarian.
A group in this case may be a religious group.
The freedom of the individual should be limited by society only when it infringes upon someone else's freedom.
Example: " I will not speed on the freeway because it is the right thing to do!
6 Universal Ethical Principles.
Personal commitment to universal moral principles, recognizing people as ends not means,
This is the "Golden Rule" model.
Example:" Everyone needs to drive at a safe speed to protect all of us!"
Kolberg believed that only 25% of people ever grow to level six.