The Psychology of Post-Conventional Morality and Martin Luther King Jr.

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Introduction Morals, as defined by psychologist, are the attitudes and beliefs held by individuals that aid in the determination or what is right and what is wrong (Hock 142). It is believed that what is deemed moral is determined by our culture and the norms present in that culture. It is also believed that we are not born with an established set of morals; instead, we must gain this outline of what is moral throughout our childhood and adolescence and into adulthood. In order to properly analyze the extent Bandura social learning theory plays in the attainment of level three, stage six, of Kohlberg’s moral development theory the theories of Kohlberg and Bandura must be properly outlined. The application of these theories will then by applied to case of Martin Luther King, Jr. who observed, through texts, the non-violent protest methods of Mohandas Gandhi. Lawrence Kohlberg, focusing his research on Jean Piaget, gained in interest in child development. While at the University of Chicago, Kohlberg expounded upon the ideas set forth by Piaget and posed the question “how does the amoral infant become capable of moral reasoning” (Hock 143)? As a result of his research, Kohlberg created his moral development stage theory. His theory consists of three stages and each stage has two respective levels. In the first level, known as either pre-conventional morality or pre-moral, a person shows only self interest. In the first stage of this level a person will act morally simply because they are motivated by rewards or punishments. In stage two, the best interest of the person is the motivation for moral behavior. Conventional morality, the second level, is where a person’s relationship between others plays a larger role in moral beha... ... middle of paper ... be suggested that one can develop morally even in the absence of this direct model-observer interaction if all other conditions are met. These conditions being: attention, retention, motor reproduction, and motivation. This essay has attempted at asserting that history can have a direct impact on moral development and can act as the model when applied to situations that contain the combination of factors. Bibliography 1) Hock, Roger R. Forty Studies that Changed Psychology: Explorations into the History of Psychological Research. 5th. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2005. 142-50. Print. 2) Weber, Thomas Gandhi as Disciple and Mentor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 3) Rudolf, Lloyd L., and Susanne Hoeber Rudolf. Post Modern Gandhi and other essays. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006. 92-120. Print.

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