Moral Reasoning By The Great Philosophers

1642 words - 7 pages

"Moral thought, then, seems to behave like all other kinds of thought. Progress through the moral levels and stages is characterized by increasing differentiation and increasing integration, and hence is the same kind of progress that scientific theory represents." Quoted by Mr. Kohlberg himself. Kohlberg developed a set of stages on what he thought how man develops morally. Lawrence Kohlberg's reasoning for the stages of moral development stemmed from Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget; who was one of the first to study systematically moral reasoning in children. Lawrence was also influenced by Socrates, Immanuel Kant, & John Rawls. These were philosophers who preceded Kohlberg and what led him to make "Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development." According to Kohlberg, although the specific content of moral codes can vary from culture to culture, what really distinguishes among cultures is what is only on the surface. He believed that humans, with the exceptions of sociopathic and severely impaired people, have an innate potential for development from the earlier to later stages of moral development. According to Lawrence, "each stage is distinct and reflects a level of moral judgment that is more complex than that of preceding stages." He compares his views of moral development as kind of like a "mathematical" solution to conflicts. Kohlberg's Stages of Moral development consists of three levels and within them six developmental stages; each more sufficient at responding to moral predicaments than its predecessor. Within his works he was predominantly concerned with justice. Level one: Pre-Conventional(early), which deals with the beginning two stages; the first being Punishment and Obedience( How can I elude punishment?) & the second being Egoist(How will I benefit?) Level two: Conventional(middle), which deals with two middle stages as well; the third being Conforming to social roles(Good boy/nice girl) & the fourth Society maintaining(Law & Order) Level three: Post-conventional(last), which deals with the last two stages, the fifth being Social contract(Am I good enough?) & the sixth Conscience and universal principles(Principled conscience). As it states in the book, "Kohlberg emphasized cognitive disequilibrium as playing a key role in pushing people into a higher stage of moral development ."
On the contrary, Kohlberg's counterpart Carol Gilligan, took a different route about how she thinks moral reasoning in women is developed. According to Gilligan, who studied with Kohlberg, "women's moral development tends to follow a different path than men's." In that thought, Gilligan came up with her own vision of how women's development occurred. With that, "Gilligan's Stages of Moral Development in Women" consisted of three levels & within those levels three stages. Level one: Pre-conventional(early), deals with being self-centered(What's in it for me?) Level two: Conventional(middle), deals with being self sacrificial(What can I do for others?) Level...

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