There are Three Levels of Moral Development Introduced by Lawrence Kohlberg. He was the psychologist born in Bronxville New York. he started as a developmental psychologist in the early 1970s and became famous for his later work in moral education and moral reasoning Stages of Moral development Theory
o Common in children, although adults can also exhibit this level of reasoning.
o Judging the morality of an action by its direct consequences.
o Pre-conventional level is divided into two stages:
• Stage One: Obedience and punishment orientation
• Stage two: self-interest orientation
o In stage one, individuals focus on the direct consequences that their actions will result into. They see and analyze as to what actions are morally wrong and, if the person commits them, gets punishment for it.
o In stage two, right behavior is what is defined as, ‘what is in one’s own best interest’. Limited or little interest is shown about other’s needs.
o Concern for others is not based on loyalty or intrinsic respect.
o Can easily be seen in adults and older children.
o Persons, who reason in a conventional way, judge the morality of actions by comparing these actions to social rules norms, standards, and expectations.
o The conventional level is divided into two further stages:
• Stage three: conformity orientation
• Stage four: law-and-order morality
o Individual, whose moral reasoning is in stage three, seeks approval from others. Tries to be a ‘good boy’ or ‘good girl’, having learned that there is inherent value in doing so.
o Judging the morality of an action by evaluating its consequences.
o In stage four, individual thinks that it is important to obey the laws and social conventions because it is important in maintaining society and thus does not require approval which is important in stage three.
o The post-conventional level is divided into two stages;
• Stage five: social contract orientation
• Stage six: principled conscience
o In stage five, people have certain principles or beliefs to which they may attach more value than laws e.g. human rights or social justice.
o In the sixth and final stage, moral reasoning is based on the use of ‘abstract reasoning’ using ‘universal ethical principles’.
o Although Kohlberg insisted that sixth stage exists but he had difficulty finding people who used it. It appears that people rarely use it, if, ever they reach this sixth stage of Kohlberg’s model