Moral Development from Kohlberg’s Perspective
A directed explanation of Lawrence Kohlberg’s (1958) dissertation serves as the foundation substratum for understanding the concepts and development of the child’s stages of moral development. that are Such base knowledge is copiously referenced in many a variety of books and articles as the framework for the discussion of to discuss how children relate to their world. Kohlberg’s dissertation topic on moral development began with his study of the philosophers Kant, Baldwin, and Piaget. In it, he explains He explained his expansive study of understanding moral development from a philosophical view point. Kohlberg’s theoretical underpinnings began with his work that researches researching the moral development of adolescent teenage boys through the boys’ analysis of individual scenarios that introduced introduce moral dilemma.
The subjects of Kohlberg’s discourse were eighty-four boys from the Chicago area, ranging in ages age from 10 - 16. Kohlberg He divided the boys into groups by age ages, sociometeric, and socioeconomic status. Since his objective was to look at moral development through situational scenarios, he stated concludes that socioeconomic status was is important for understanding comprehending what society acknowledged acknowledges to be morally accepted acceptable. Further, it is noted and that observing choosing children from various socioeconomic levels castes, was similar most aptly approximates to a microcosm of society. (need to begin a new paragraph here.)
Kohlberg’s view originated views originate from G.H. Mead’s philosophy (1934) that addresses regarding the importance relevance of socioeconomic status in as a vital component to effective research. Also included in his sample were twelve boys characterized as delinquent. His samples include the diligent examination of twelve boys, who were characterized as delinquent. He added his observation of the this category of delinquent boys, in his attempt to validate the because of the validation of moral development concepts based upon on Baldwin’s (1906) view views of concerning of family participation and with specificity focused upon how families are formed. , His objective was to better in order to understand social development patterns and societal interactions among a variety of various class subcultures. Kohlberg, therefore, Delinquency was considered categorized delinquency as a subculture.
Kohlberg similarly created several realistic situations that were used to solicit moral decisions from the eighty-four child children participants. In his 1958 work (p. 76), he Kohlberg (1958, p. 76) stated, “…we decided to use extensively probed open-ended individual interviews about hypothetical conflict situations, which posed genuine dilemma’s to educated adults.” Kohlberg believed he could best clarify understand the moral development of male adolescents adolescence, by inviting the youths children to analyze several specific moral predicaments. dilemmas, The most significant moral dilemma quagmire examined of was Heintz’s damnable situation, dilemma as a scenario, which originated from relative to an ethical point dilemma of the law. Kohlberg did not, however, limit his scenarios analysis to Heintz’s perplexity, situation, but though it became the his most prominent cogent of his studied quandaries. dilemma, as children In it, his young study subjects judged whether Heintz was justified to steal a drug to save the life of his dying wife. Did the seriousness of her medical condition condone a husband’s stealing? Or was such an act of moral baseness, considered to be one nothing short of depravity?
The second Heintz’s subsequent situation of his Heintz’s dilemma involved Heintz’s his wife’s asking the doctor to give her prescribe drugs to help alleviate her pain, knowing that the such drugs medicinal compounds would kill her sooner than her medically approximated date of expected death. The children Subjects were specifically asked queried as to whether they thought considered it morally reprehensible was right or wrong for the doctor to provide the drug to the dying woman. Kohlberg’s dissertation however, acknowledged that it mattered not at all didn’t matter whether the children agreed or disagreed with Heintz’s conclusions. decisions. Kohlberg’s hypothesis focused instead upon involved the analysis of children’s decision as to whether Heintz was right or wrong and the children’s justification for their own final resolve. decision. Using the Heintz scenario, Kohlberg was not concerned about the final decision of the children, rather, the moral reasoning behind the children’s decisions.
Another integral segment of scenario in Kohlberg’s dissertation describes involves the unfortunate mis en scene dilemma of a fourteen year old boy, Joe, who was told by his whose father told him that if the boy he saved money, he he’d be granted his father’s had permission to attend a trip to a camp ground. Joe The young man worked hard, saving and saved the money, but his father then needed money for his own recreational fishing trip. The father subsequently changed his mind regarding the boy’s camping trip, demanding that and demanded his son give him the money that he had saved. The moral dilemma was primarily descriptive of regarding the boy’s loyalty and obedience to his father. Joe The youngster, who didn’t want to give all his hard earned money to his father, instead gave the man but a giving him only a small amount, untruthfully maintaining and lying to his father that that was all the money he had earned. Joe The boy could still go camp with the remainder of the money he he’d earned.
Kohlberg’s question to his adolescent boys study participants was whether the boy described in the scenario Joe was wrong or justified to give his father just a portion of his earnings. The additional component to the case study of the father and son scenario related to Joe and his father involved Joe’s addressed the young boy’s comment to his brother that he had in actuality really lied to his father, and still had enough money to attend camp. Kohlberg consequently questioned asked the children his young study subject as to whether Joe’s the brother was then justified in sharing the information with his the father. Joe might get in trouble lying to his father.
Although the total number of scenarios was nine, each of these scenarios It is note-worthy that each case study created by Kohlberg was divided into two parts with different differing moral issues and related questions. Kohlberg He then ranked the strength of the answers assigning as values as presented by the children, assigning them values, for the purpose of enhanced clarity. The In fact, stages were created around a cluster of responses from all the study participants. The cluster of responses included all the children. As his Kohlberg explained his data analysis was summarized, he Kohlberg identified a number some of the responses made by the boys he had categorized as adolescent delinquents. of the delinquent boys. He further noted acknowledged that the delinquent boys’ responses spanned all the stages.
As previously indicated, Kohlberg, in his dissertation, Kohlberg’s dissertation, he categorized his study subjects’ answers the children’s answers and quantified the results. Accordingly, his His moral development stages were methodized created with detailed specificity, weighing the response values assigned together with the classification of his study categories. amount of responses and the types of categories. He Kohlberg had separated his participants into three distinct classifications levels and of with five types, based upon on the varying responses to each individual scenario. of the nine scenarios. Each of the The three classified levels described a kind of development type and each of the five types defined described a developmental stage of within each level. the levels. Kohlberg’s Finally, his research explanation identified these stages within the terms of his quantified information.
All three classification levels acknowledged values of expressed by the children, while consideration was given to their considering age responses. Level 1, according to Kohlberg’s (1958, p.89) research, specified that “values reside in external happenings or consequences, rather than in persons or rules.” Level 2 acknowledged roles of “good and bad” in relationship to “reward and punishment” (p.89). Level 3 detailed the framework of moral development, as “values reside in the conformity of the self to some shared standard of judgment and defined rights and duties” (p.90).
Within each separate level, Kohlberg Kohlberg’s (1958) dissertation identifies identified traits that represent represented moral development and the their level of reasoning, from as observed from the children’s perspective. These traits Traits were accordingly defined created from quantifying the study subjects’ children’s responses. There were 6 Six significant traits were recognized and categorized distinguished as follows: Type 0, “heteronomous authority and punishment orientation”; Type 1, “naïve and egoistic orientation”; Type 2, “approval oriented good boys”; Type 3, “authority system maintain orientation” (p. 89); Type 4, legalistic, contractual, conventional orientation”; and Type 5, “conscious principle or mutual respect orientation” (p.90). The levels classifications were grouped developmentally by age; therefore, type 0 represented a rather basic level grade of moral development, whereas type 5 represented a more sophisticated level degree of moral development.
The following traits represent are indicative of how Kohlberg has analyzed the data he collected and detail explains what a given that trait represents, as he applied it the trait to moral development.
Heteronomous morality means specifies that expected punishment is deserved, if rules are broken (Kohlberg, 1958). Type 0 children believed in doing almost anything to avoid punishment and understood reasoned that punishment came from any authority figure.
Those It was assumed then, that those in authority have power over others; Therefore, therefore, people in authority are respected because of their responsibilities, in addition to holding a certain position. Heteronomous morality also means likewise indicates that children are more somewhat comfortable conforming to authority. According to the children’s responses, conforming means obeying; therefore, external conformity is not controlled by the children’s internal sense of knowing. It is indicated that study participants Children exhibiting representing Type 0 morality tend to be more self-centered, and are not readily given to not concentrating on helping others (Kohlberg, 1958). It is illustrated that Type 0 children tend to be followers rather than leaders, typifying that Kohlberg also explains that the values of type Type 0 children children’s values are dependent on the others the power and possessions of others, as to rather than how they respond to others from a helping perspective.
Type 1 children are represented as representing exhibiting naïve characteristics of moral development, according to Kohlberg’s research stresses depicting a dependence upon on authority of moral order, as related to conventional rules. The values of type Type 1 children are still manifest self centered a measure of self-centered behavior that is and conditional upon on individualistic needs. Children Those study subjects who were classified as displaying Type 1 behavior believed in only giving to others, only with the anticipation intention of getting something in return. back. In other words, if these children If they do a favor for someone, it is expected that the recipient person responds in like fashion. gives them something in return. In choosing to analyze their analysis of a conflict, type Type 1 children are characterized by haphazard, careless and immature judgment; moreover, their analytical approach is one based upon Type 1 children have a self interest, in supporting and defending their position. or decision regarding the conflict. In summation, Kohlberg Kohlberg’s dissertation (1958) identified that those within the type Type 1 standard, whereby people do not have an possess little, if any, moral accountability to obey rules, as so long as they are willing to acquiesce to the consequences. The authority archetype related to type Type 1 children is then structured from the child’s children wanting consensus that everyone to should have equal rights, thereby eliminating the value of any with no authority figure. In other words, everyone would ideally have the same desires and possess equal opportunities. Everyone has the same desires and same opportunities.
The Type 2 behavioral classification is populated by children who have advanced somewhat in the stages of moral; development; however they still remain somewhat self absorbed. self-absorbed. Their values revolve around stem from trying to understand the feelings of others, but are not always successful. Relating to choices, type Type 2 children explicated as perceived perceiving others as good or nice, conforming and not being judgmental non-judgmental or dogmatic. Type 2 children tend to perceive believe that acceptance is as being both subjective and objective. However, the children The children, however, will tend to take action with (often influenced by peer pressure, by example), if provided they recognize and sense that the task is logical and age appropriate in to their frame of reference. In addition the Such children will similarly subdue their passion to be perceived as positive, in order to be accepted by others. The Type 2 standard acknowledges children’s views of good intention for protecting the self and others, even though their actions may act compromises their value. These children Children view authority as doing good for others, while not necessarily considering the wellbeing of the self. Authority is thereby judged by the child, based upon on the position of the individual perceived to be authoritative. Children, it should be noted, have a sense of being followers, i.e. holding a position of possessing the desire of mastering what others want them to do. And while Type 2 although type 2 children do compete, competition from the child’s children’s viewpoint is still directly related to the value of praise and obedience of extended by their core peer group.
Type 3 children clearly model the ability to distinguish discriminate right from wrong. They value conforming to what society establishes believes is as right, ; albeit, but they may behave differently from contrary to their instincts, that relate relating to what is, in general, morally acceptable. correct. These children Children are cognizant of the consequences of their actions, being inflexible Type 3 children have inflexibility regarding with respect to rules and believing that the authority figure believe the authority figure has the right to reinforce enforce the rules. Consequently, Children the children of Type 3 believe they should conform to rules, regardless of the consequences. Although And while they want to do the right thing, they believe the effect of punishment is an acceptable value of society. Children Accordingly, they expect themselves and/or others and to be punished when they deviate from the established rules. According to Kohlberg, With respect to Type-3 children, Kohlberg specifically states (1958, p. 380), “rules are seen as a system for guiding righteous behavior.” The These children, therefore, believe that peoples’ moral values are based on upon the roles they hold in the social order. and that people may compromise themselves, should that be necessary in order to fulfill the role of an authority.
Type 4 children are morally developed to begin the comprehension understanding of a democratic system. They share perspective with others, who referring to acknowledging acknowledge that societal decisions are made from majority agreement. Children under this type included in the Type 4 classification, trait see the value in the opinions of others, thereby making and make choices based upon on their relationships, with others. According to Kohlberg (1958) when When conflicts are not resolved, Kohlberg states, children in type Type 4 use good judgment or and are prudent in their ruling or outcome. They sense that proper behavior equates to morality as moral conformity, whereby they whereby the children are able to appreciably gain importance (or position) through conforming to the reputation of the group. Children in type Type 4 persons feel an obligation then, to share the hidden curriculum (or secret language they use) to maneuver themselves within the organization. The self, they conclude, possesses has a duty to conform, as discussed by Kohlberg (1958), but is distinguished, according to Kohlberg, from the group by judicious accomplishment, related to moral righteousness. Type 4 children They admire authorities, not for the authority figure’s their specific position, but for the ability rather their abilities that enabled the authority figure to obtain his or her the elevated position. Respect for authority, as observed then by these children, in type Type 4 children, is attained because of the authoritative individual’s abilities or competence. The children in type 4 As expected then, such children strive to get along with others, while holding themselves morally accountable.
The value of type Type 5 children is thus explained by Kohlberg (1958, p. 382):
Moral value is to a large extent objective, ideal and public. Thus the value of a human life is independent of the actual functional value of the individual or of the self’s particular relation to him. It is based on the fact that everyone ought to give a moral value or respect to an individual human life.
Children Persons in type Type 5 ultimately decide (from a sufficient maturation standpoint) that they will choose elect to engage objectivity, make a stand regarding with respect to a moral value. Further, they regard objectivity as the basis for their understanding of another’s decision-making, based upon what is judged to be moral decency. and respect another in terms of belief and objectivity in understanding another’s decisions based on moral principles. Children in type Typically then, Type 5 personalities, according to Kohlberg, critically specify moral rights from legal rights. According to his research, Kohlberg (1958) has Kohlberg has then broadened the concept of authority representing type Type 5 persons, children to include a to delineate their possession of general respect for human beings, regardless of their positions or stations in life. These people individuals have equally portray a considerable sense of autonomy and self respect. These children They believe that moral value is equated with personal fulfillment, as applied to regarding the welfare of others (Kohlberg, 1958).
Kohlberg’s esteemed research has seminal work was indisputably become the blueprint for defining moral development; and it stemmed from his interviewing children in a cross section of socioeconomic areas. The moral development stages were created through the analysis of dilemma’s given to each of the children in his study. Kohlberg It is correspondingly recognized that Kohlberg’s data used the data to create the stages of moral development which has become the standard of how by which social researchers explain define moral development for the purpose of understanding the intellectual and emotional growth of children. to understand children and their intellectual and emotional growth.
The next section of this literature review further analyzes Kohlberg’s stages, discusses while examining how researchers have interpreted moral development, as it specifically applies to elementary grade 4 children. and studied moral development of children by using and analyzing Kohlberg’s stages. And although, Kohlberg does not discuss moral development as a theory, other researchers (Carpendale, 2000; Cohen, 2006) explain their study results, based on upon Kohlberg’s distinguished leadership in this important field. theory of moral development. These Numerous researchers, who have critiqued Kohlberg’s work, elaborate upon the similarity of conclusions drawn from both Kohlberg’s research and his work to Piaget’s. and explained similarities with Piaget’s theory. Additionally, the Further, the portion that follows in this literature review, shall address with expanded clarity, how character development relates to aspects of moral development.
The next section will clarify how character development is related to aspects of moral development.