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Lawrence Kohlberg


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Lawrence Kohlberg

  1. 1. 1927-1987
  2. 2.  Born in 1927 in Bronxville, NY into wealth. Showed an early concern for others welfare by volunteering as a sailor in WWII and later in life smuggling Jews past the British blockade of Palestine. University of Chicago: Bachelors degree in Psychology in just 1 year (1949) Pursued a Doctoral Degree at Chicago in 1949 focusing his dissertation on the moral development of children  His direction came from a fascination by the cognitive development work proposed by Swiss theorist Jean Piaget.
  3. 3.  1957-1958 Using the dilemma of Heinz, Kohlberg finishes his dissertation research on the moral development of children and proposes his six stages of moral development 1962-1967 Associate professor in psychology and human development at the University of Chicago 1968 Accepted a position at Harvard University teaching education and social psychology, while continuing his research 1971 Contracts a tropical disease while conducting cross- cultural work in Belize (As a result he suffers from pain and depression for the next 16 years) 1987 Requests day of leave from Massachusetts hospital where he was being treated and commits suicide by drowning himself in Boston Harbor.
  4. 4.  Set up questions about the dilemmas which were designed to probe for the subject’s reasons for recommending specific courses of action in situations He evaluated the students responses by a scoring system which indicates which stage or level of moral development the subject has reached. Heinz Dilemma: Extra: g
  5. 5.  Pre-conventional StageThe child is responsive to cultural rules and labels of good and bad, right or wrong, but interprets these labels in terms of either the physical or the hedonistic consequences.  Stage 1: The Punishment and Obedience Orientation: The physical consequences of an action determine its goodness or badness  Stage 2: The Instrumental Relativist Orientation: Right action consists of that which satisfies one’s own needs.
  6. 6.  Conventional StageMaintaining the expectations of the individual’s family, group, or nation is perceived as valuable  Stage 3: The Interpersonal Concordance of “Good Boy—Nice Girl” Orientation: Good behavior is that which pleases others and you’re judged by intention.  Stage 4: The Law and Order Orientation: There is orientation toward authority, fixed rules, and maintenance of the social order.
  7. 7.  Post- Conventional, Autonomous, or Principled LevelClear effort to define moral values and principles which have validity and application apart from the authority.  Stage 5: The Social-Contract Legalistic Orientation: Right action tends to be defined in terms of general individual rights and in terms of standards which have been critically examined and agreed upon by the whole society.  Stage 6: The Universal Ethical Principle Orientation: Right is defined by decision of conscience in accord with self-chosen ethical principles appealing to logical comprehensiveness.
  8. 8.  One must develop through the stages in order and cannot get to the higher stage without passing through the one preceding it Subject cannot comprehend moral reasoning at a stage more than one stage beyond their own Reasoning at higher stages is cognitively more adequate than reasoning at lower stages, since it resolves problems in a more satisfactory way Movement through stages is effected when cognitive disequilibrium is created . This happens when a persons cognitive outlook is not adequate to cope with a given moral dilemma
  9. 9.  Piaget and Kohlberg both do not concentrate on moral behavior rather on the reasoning behind the behavior Piaget only had 2 stages of moral development and Kohlberg’s methods of investigating the development and the sequence of the stages were different as well. Kohlberg’s theory in the conventional stage says that belonging to a group is important and reinforces one’s notion of self worth much like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
  10. 10.  Carol Gilligan criticizes Kohlberg for only studying males moral development Criticism was made that his dilemmas were used to identify individual protagonists, with whom subjects could identify and younger interviewees may not be able to break out of this character to discuss wider issues. Although Kohlberg worked with Gilligan eventually and began expanding his studies to females he kept most of his dilemmas very similar to the originals.
  11. 11.  Duska, R., & Whelan, M. (1975). Moral development: A guide to piaget and kohlberg. Broadway, N.Y.: Paulist Press. Kohlberg, L. (1981). The philosophy of moral development: Moral stages and the idea of justice (essays on moral development, volume 1). NYC, NY: Harper & Row, Publishers. Langford, P. (1995). Approaches to the development of moral reasoning. East Sussex, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Ltd.