Moral Development - Essay Example

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Moral development is a critical topic in psychology, education and many more disciplines. Many psychologists have come up with theories to explain various concepts of moral development…
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Download file to see previous pages Kohlberg modified an earlier theory by psychologist Jean Piaget by expounding on it to form a theory that illustrates the development of moral reasoning. Gilligan on the other hand, advanced a theory that was an improvement in Kohlberg’s work, but her focus was on moral development in girls (Duska & Whelan 25). Kohlberg’s theory This theory was based on research and interviews that Kohlberg conducted with many groups of privileged young children. The children were presented with various dilemmas, and each child’s reasoning behind the judgment made in response to the dilemma was analyzed (Duska & Whelan 56). From responses that the children gave, Kohlberg managed to classify responses into 3 stages of reasoning. These stages are; pre-conventional morality, conventional morality and post conventional morality. The stages are further classified into sub-stages, two in each case. This forms the basis for the theory of Kohlberg on moral development. The stage of Pre-conventional Morality is between birth and 9 years comprises of obedience and individualism. By young children being obedient to rules and ideas, it enables them to avoid punishment. The children also are individualistic by only caring about themselves. They make judgment basing their reasoning on factors that favor their individual needs (Duska & Whelan 58). The stage of Conventional Morality is between 9 and 20 years...
Criticisms of Kohlberg’s Theory and the Defense Just like with other theories, Kohlberg’s theory of reasoning in moral development has been faced with criticisms from other psychologists. For one, there is the assertion that Kohlberg’s theory discusses about moral thinking ignoring the fact that moral reasoning does not necessarily lead to moral behavior. This assertion is misplaced because moral thinking always leads to moral deeds. We all perform deeds based on our thinking. It is, therefore, rare to find an individual who thinks wickedly doing well to others. Because of this, Kohlberg’s theory is accurate. Other critics have highlighted that Kohlberg’s theory overemphasizes on justice when making moral decisions and choices. They argue that this may be inaccurate because other factors like compassion and other interpersonal feelings may play a part in making moral decisions and reasoning. Therefore, this shows that justice is not the only aspect of moral reasoning that should be considered. However, this assertion is also not true. All individuals who know and understand dictates of the law make decisions based on justice. As much as other factors come into play, Justice is the greatest factor to consider when making decisions because an individual may be willing to do something but because it does not conform to justice, the individual may abandon the idea. Furthermore, many critics argue that Kohlberg’s theory overemphasizes on western philosophy. This makes the theory inaccurate because Eastern cultures may have different outlooks and perceptions on moral reasoning that Kohlberg’s theory does not discuss at all. Kohlberg is right in the use of western philosophy because, one always bases a theory on the surrounding conditions. Kohlberg studies the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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