Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Kolhberg's Levels of Morality

Level 1 - Preconventional morality: Brought into place by external controls. People obey the rules to get rewards or escape punishment or act out of self-interest. This level is typical of children ages 4 to 10. This level has the following stages of reasoning:
Stage 1 - Orientation toward punishment and obedience - "What will happen to me?"
Stage 2 - Instrumental purpose and exchange - "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours."

Level 2 - Conventional morality: People have internalized the standards of authority figures. They are concerned with being good, pleasing others and keeping the social order. Many do not grow out of this even in adulthood. This level has the following stages of reasoning:
Stage 3 - The Golden Rule - or maintaining mutual relationships
Stage 4 - Social concern and conscience - "What if everybody did it?"

Level 3 - Postconventional morality: People now recognize conflicts between moral standards and make their own judgments on the basis of principles of right fairness and justice. If reached at all, it will usually come in early adulthood. This level has the following stages of reasoning:
Stage 5 - Morality of contract, of individual rights and of democratically accepted law - valuing the will of the majority and the welfare of society.
Stage 6 - Morality of universal ethical principles - they act in accordance with internal standards, knowing that they would condemn themselves if they did not.

Kolhberg later added a seventh stage of “Why be moral?" where the person questions the existance of morals in the first place. The person starts to see morality from a meta-perspective.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog. You might like this also...

What is postconventional morality

Detailed explanation on postconventional morality.