Stages of Moral Development
Based on your readings for this week write a response in at least 250-300
words to the following prompt:
Chapter 7 introduces us to Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. A
provocative question is whether the system of law enforcement should, on any
level, make distinctions between crimes motivated by more or less moral
interests. For example, should we consider persons who violate the law for
moral reasons less reprehensible and thus less legally blameworthy than others?
Consider and answer the questions regarding the following hypothetical cases
involving law-breaking behaviors. Which, if any, of these behaviors are
immoral? Why? Based on Kohlberg’s model, at what level and stage of moral
development would you place the person(s) in the following scenarios?
- A recently laid-off husband and father of five steals
several food items from a local grocery store to feed his hungry children.
- A concerned mother drives 80 miles-per-hour in a
55-mile-per-hour zone to get her child to the hospital. The child has 104
- Two officers respond to the scene of a reported robbery
at a convenience store. While the first officer is interviewing the
victim, the second officer is observed by the first officer taking candy
without paying for it. The first officer does not say anything.
Now consider the following legal
behaviors. Which, if any, would you consider to be immoral? Why? Given
Kohlberg’s model of moral development, at what level and stage would you place
the actor in question?
- Passing by a dark alley late at night, a young man
witnesses what appears to be a rape in progress. As he is unsure what is
happening and somewhat afraid to get involved, he chooses to simply
continue on his way.
- A young couple has managed to accumulate $50.00 worth
of late charges at a local video store. Upon their next visit, the store
manager informs them that there has been a computer malfunction, resulting
in the store losing track of all late charges on customer accounts.
The manager asks them if they had any outstanding charges, to which the
couple replies, “No.”
Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development
Kohlberg instituted the utilization of dilemmas to perceive the
ethical choices. As individuals, we all face life-shaping ethical choices. Some
of the most important decisions we as individuals face in life involve ethical
or moral questions. Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral
development Punishment and Obedience, Instrumental Purpose and Exchange,
Interpersonal Expectations and Conformity, Law and Order, Social
Contract/Rights, Universal Ethical Principles (Williams & Arriago, 2012,
The first scenario based on a father and hungry
children. This scenario comes under the first stage of the Kohlberg’s Moral
development model Pre-Conventional (Individualism,
Instrumentalism, and Exchange) as he is doing what he found best on
individual basis. The second situation based on the driving of a mother for her
sick child. The scenario best fit in the stage two named Conventional. The
model stated that the “Good Boy/ Girl” as the role played by the mother is
natural and according to the behavior and nature. The officers are the basic
parts that are bound in rules and regulations. This stage also comes under the
definition of Conventional. But this comprises the point 2 of this stage that
is known as “Law and Order”. The responsibility and the obligations related
with the law should be implemented here (Barger, 2000).
I consider the first situation of the actor situation is immoral
and unethical as someone needs help and you are neglecting as you don’t know it
properly. Kohlberg’s Model has a stage named as Post-Conventional and in this
stage point five answer this situation. The social connection is necessary to
make things happen on legal grounds. In
the second situation the stage of Post-Conventional and the point of Principled
Conscience are applied here, as the couple replied to no to the conscious
situation. They obliged to a debt but they refused to protect individual
Barger, Ph.D, R. N. (2000). KOHLBERG'S
THEORY OF MORAL DEVELOPMENT - California …. Retrieved July 31,
2014, from www.csudh.edu/dearhabermas/kohlberg01bk.htm
Williams, C. R., &
Arriago, B. A. (2012). Ethics, crime, and criminal justice (2nd
ed.). Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.