Kohlberg's stages of moral development

Essay by alanvaleA, May 2007

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The Conventional and the post conventional way of moral thinking are developed within themselves thought a hierarchy system of stages.The lower the stage the "less developed" is the cognitive process of reasoning morality.

At the Conventional level, the individual perceives the maintenance of the expectations of his family, group, or nation as valuable in its own right, regardless of immediate and obvious consequences. The attitude is not only one of conformity to personal expectations and social order, but of loyalty to it, of actively maintaining, supporting, and justifying the order and identifying with the persons or group involved in it. The level consists of the following two stages:Stage 3: The interpersonal concordance or "good boy-nice girl" direction. Good behavior is what pleases or helps others and is approved by them. There is much conformity to stereotypical images of what is majority or "natural" behavior. Behavior is frequently judged by intention -- "he means well" becomes important for the first time.

One earns approval by being "nice" or even having "good intentions" (Crain, 2005). Right is conformity to the behavioral expectations of one's society or peers. Individual acts to gain approval of others. Good behavior is that which pleases or helps others within the group. "Everybody is doing it." One earns approval by being conventionally "respectable" and "nice." Sin is a breach of the expectations of the social order. Retribution, however, at this stage is collective. Individual vengeance is not allowed. Forgiveness is preferable to revenge. Punishment is mainly for deterrence. Failure to punish is "unfair." "If he can get away with it, why can't I?" (Aggelia, 2007)Stage 4: The "law and order" stage. The individual is oriented toward authority, fixed rules, and the maintenance of the social order. Right behavior consists in doing one's duty, showing respect for authority,