The section on Conscience at faqs.org has the following:|
Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987), an American psychologist, was one of the first people to develop a theory of moral development in the 1950s at the U. Chicago. Kohlberg was influenced by the work of Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget. Piaget showed that children go through different developmental stages, from concrete to abstract, in learning to reason. Kohlberg took the idea of progressing through developmental stages and applied it to moral development or the development of conscience. Kohlberg tested and researched his theories while a professor at Harvard University, opening the door to the scientific study of moral development.
He is currently director of Harvard's Center for Moral Education.
Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development:
Children younger than 10 or 11 years think about moral dilemmas one way; older children consider them differently. As we have seen, younger children regard rules as fixed and absolute. They believe that rules are handed down by adults or by God and that one cannot change them. The older child's view is more relativistic. He or she understands that it is permissible to change rules if everyone agrees. Rules are not sacred and absolute but are devices which humans use to get along cooperatively.
Lawrence Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development:
Get table only for printing.
|Level A (Pre-moral or Pre-Conventional Stages) - Judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences.|
Children and some adults.
|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.
From How Good People Make Tough Choices, 1995, by Rushworth M. Kidder, founder of the Institute for Global Ethics
The Heinz dilemma is a frequently used example in many ethics and morality classes.
A man does not have enough money to buy an expensive drug to save his wife's life. The druggist, who invented the drug and is the only source, will not give him credit. Should he steal the drug to save his wife?
In stage 1 and 4 Heinz should NOT steal the drug. In other cases he should.
See Heinz dilemma at Wikipedia
in Kohlberg's Stages Of Moral Development: Implications For Theology, Jackson Snyder observes:
God had to deal with the early Israelites coming out of Egypt at stage 1 and 2, where they were. "A tooth for a tooth."
Christ is trying to pull the people from level 3 and 4 (the obsession of conforming to the "law") up to level 6.
At stage 4, the saying "a good day's work for a good day's pay" is a truism. In the parable of the workers (Matt. 20:1-16) those who worked only one hour were paid the same as those who had worked all day.
The Sermon on the Mount, (Matt. 5) is an excellent example of level 5-6 morality. It is heavy with principle not prescription, yet some would use this, in true stage 4 fashion.
Much of the teaching of Christ seems to have been directed at weaning the people away from mechanical rule keeping. What they did not perceive was the higher stage thinking (level 5-6) that He was trying to lead them towards.
Stage 6 implies a perfect equivalence of duties and rights. "Love your neighbor as yourself." "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The stage 6 person believes he may expect of others the same things that he is willing to give to them.
A great many of the problems within the church may be explained by these differences in stage thinking. Level 4 people are anxious that the rules be kept, while level 6 persons who want to discuss general principles, are called "liberal." Level 6 persons may become very bored with legalistic sermons aimed at level 4, or with level 2 -the fiery hell and damnation threats, while level 4 members feel threatened by questions which seem to undermine the authority of God and His Law or His church.
In a Different Voice is a 1982 text on gender studies by American professor Carol Gilligan.
In this text, she criticized Kohlberg's stages of moral development of children which argued that girls on average reached a lower level of moral development than boys did. Gilligan argued that the participants in Kohlberg's basic study were largely male. She also stated that the scoring method Kohlberg used tended to favor a principled way of reasoning that was more common to boys, over a moral argumentation concentrating on relations, which would be more amenable to girls.
Kohlberg's stages of moral development - Wikipedia
Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development: Implications for Theology by Jackson Snyder
Stages of Moral Development in humans at freegrab.net by Walter Sorochan
Erikson's Psychosocial Stages Summary Chart
Kohlberg's Moral Stages, Theories of Development, by W.C. Crain. (1985).
Kohlberg's Stages Of Moral Development: Implications For Theology
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Data, Information, Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom