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Essay On Moral Development

1441 words - 6 pages


Describe and evaluate two theories of moral development.

This essay will demonstrate the explanation and the evaluation of two different theories of moral development. Moral development is related to behavior, and psychologists mean by moral behavior is that the judgment of person. Jean Piaget is the most renowned psychologist for his work on moral development. However, his theory was limited and not developed as Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory, but Piaget made a favour for Kohlberg by provided him the starting point of the studying.

Starting with Piaget’s theory, which was focused on children and how do they recognise right and wrong. It is worth to know that moral ...view middle of the document...

Piaget study who claimed that children at three-year-old cannot take into account. However, Nelson (1980) found that children at this age were able to take into account, also Piaget put this age in pre-moral stage. However, Nelson found that children could make moral judgments at this age. Moreover, “…6- 10-year-olds are capable of questioning parental authority – they believe that parents are justified in making and enforcing rules about moral issues such as stealing, but not in imposing conventional rules” Laupa and Turiel (1986). Furthermore, Piaget studied few children who were his own or his friends’ children, so this small number of children could not represent all children in the world. Therefore, Piaget study lacked of population validity. It is also note-worthy that Piaget research was androcentric since he believed that girls’ games were simple.

The second theory, which will be illustrated in this essay, is Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory. Twenty-year longitudinal study of ten-year-old boys were enclosed in Kohlberg’s (1967) research, both children and adults were engaged to evaluate their moral reasoning. His aim was to work out how children’s moral judgment changed while they grew up. In his study, again the participants were males aged ten to thirteen and sixteen year-old in Chicago. Kohlberg was focusing on the reasoning not the answers that the boys gave. As a result, he proposed three levels of moral reasoning and each level consist of two stages.

Kohlberg divided his levels by ages, starting with level one which is pre-conventional morality, this level for children about eight to twelve year-old. Children’s understanding about how to keep themselves out of trouble is based on their moral thinking. This first stage which is similar to Piaget’s stage of moral realism is about punishment of actions and obedience orientation, so doing anything to avoid punishment, anything wrong, it must be punished. Who has stronger power is obeyed. The second stage is talking about instrumental hedonism orientation, children in this stage start to know that different people have different moral option. This stage is about exchanging of favors. “Hedonism is the belief that what is pleasurable is morally good”.
The second level is conventional morality and this level is for people around thirteen to sixteen year-old. This level contain stage three and four, starting with stage three which is talking about good boy/girl orientation, so doing what others like and what please them is a good behavior. The fourth stage is about the morality of authority; not the authority of specific people but the authority of norms of the society, so to be a good person you need to obey the law and try to do other’s duty.
The third level is post-conventional morality and this level is for early adulthood onwards, in this level people start to recognise that they can build their own values and norms that they believe it will be better...

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