Kohlberg's

Stages of Moral Development

Kohlberg's stages of moral development is an expansion of Piaget's theory. The theory holds that moral reasoning has 6 developmental stages and that it is principally concerned with justice.

Level 1: Pre-conventional

The morality of an action is judged by its direct consequences and this level is very egocentric in manner with no regard for society's conventions of right and wrong.


Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment Orientation
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Stage 2: Self-interest Orientation
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Level 2: Conventional

The morality of actions is judged by comparing them to society's views and expectations. At this level a person obeys even without consequences and accepts society's rules with little questioning.


Stage 3:
Interpersonal Accord and Conformity
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Stage 4: Authority and Maintaining Social-Ordr Orientation
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Level 3: Post-conventional

A growing realization that an individual's perspective may take precedence over society's views. Individuals in this stage live by their own ethical principles. Rules are considered helpful, but changeable; rules are not absolutes that should be obeyed without question.


Stage 5: Social Contract Orientation
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Stage 6: Universal Ethics Principles

There are 3 levels of morality

6 developmental stages
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Kohlberg's moral development theory