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Developing Moral Reasoning: Kohlberg’s Theory

23 September, 2015 - 15:49

The independence that comes with adolescence requires independent thinking as well as the development of morality—standards of behavior that are generally agreed on within a culture to be right or proper. Just as Piaget believed that children’s cognitive development follows specific patterns, Lawrence Kohlberg (1984) 1 argued that children learn their moral values through active thinking and reasoning, and that moral development follows a series of stages. To study moral development, Kohlberg posed moral dilemmas to children, teenagers, and adults, such as the following:

A mans wife is dying of cancer and thereis only one drug that can savher. The only placto get the drug is at the store of a pharmacist who is known to overcharge peoplefor drugs. The man can only pay$1,000, but the pharmacist wants $2,000, and refuses to sell it to him for less, or to let him paylater. Desperate, theman later breaks into the pharmacy and steals the medicine. Should hehave done that?Was it right or wrong?Why?(Kohlberg, 1984) 2