Moral Reasoning and Development

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The Merriem-Webster dictionary defines a moral as concerning or relating to what is right or wrong in human behavior; based on what is you think is right or good. Morals refer to the way a person thinks, behaves, or reacts. Morals guide us to what we think is acceptable behavior. How does one go about acquiring certain moral values? It is believed that moral development begins in our childhood and continues into adulthood. Through these developmental years we acquire our values, beliefs, and thinking patterns. It is believed that these then guide us to responsible behavior. Lawrence Kohlberg (October 25, 1927-January 19, 1987) was an American psychologist who is best known for his theory of stages of moral development. Kohlberg thought that we learn moral values through thinking and reasoning. Moral judgement was not considered a “hot topic” in his era, but he decided to study it anyway. Lawrence Kohlberg was inspired by and agreed with the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget’s theory of moral development, and was particullary facinated with children’s reactions to moral dilemmas, but he also wanted to extend and develop these ideas even further. Kohlberg’s theory states that moral reasoning has six individual stages of development. Kohlberg studied moral development by posing dilemma stories to children of all ages. He hoped as he did this he would discover how moral reasoning changed as children/individuals grew. He identified three distinct levels of moral reasoning. It is important to note that not everyone achieves all the stages. The lowest level is the precon... ... middle of paper ... ...re “justice” oriented and women are more “care” oriented just by my own observations on a daily basis. I feel like men see things in a more black and white picture, where as women tend to make excuses for people that they love or care about in certain situations. My expirement had varied outcomes, but in the end, male or female, we all have a different moral compass for ourselves. I do agree that moral development starts in childhood and most of us are taught right from wrong. The choices that we make every day affect our lives both today and tommorow. So you have to ask yourself if this decision is one you can live with today and for the rest of your life. I will end with a scripture verse from The Bible which sums it up for me found in Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
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