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Stages and Reasoning Behind Moral Development

Info: 1974 words (8 pages) Essay
Published: 12th Nov 2021 in Psychology

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Abstract

Today, it seems that people live as puppets to society. While most agree that this issue deserves attention, consensus dissolves on how to tackle the problem and how a common ground can be found. Using logic, an entity attempts on how moral values could help determine what is right and what is wrong in a personal situation or any situation for that matter. Morality impacts people's interactions with the environment because of moral obligations and environmental ethics.

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People could also describe moral identity as a dependency linked to various social and cultural obligations. People also argue that Western morals emphasize morality that is personally oriented, while people from Eastern cultures find socially oriented as being a higher mean. Using Kohlberg’s stages and his “Heinz and the Drug” scenarios, the six different stages of Moral Development and the individual reasoning behind them is discussed as well as the moral reasoning behind them.

Morality relates to a belief system about what’s correct and right compared to what’s incorrect or wrong. Moral development relates to modifications in moral convictions as an individual grows older and matures. “Moral development is the process through which children develop proper attitudes and behaviors toward other people in society, based on social and cultural norms, rules, and laws.” ("Moral Development - symptoms, stages, Definition, Description, Common problems," n.d.)

People could also describe moral identity as a dependency linked to various social and cultural obligations. People also argue that Western morals emphasize morality that is personally oriented, while people from Eastern cultures find socially oriented as being a higher mean. Moral values relate to the principles that guide people throughout his/her lives. From childhood to adulthood, people keep on learning and transforming his/her selves and so do his/her morals.

Moral values are important in life because if a person has never learned about moral values then how can he/she chooses between the good and the bad. Moral values can also reflect the character and spirituality of an individual. These values can help in personal as well as professional lives to build good relationships. Moral values can help eradicate problems from one's life such as dishonesty, violence, cheating, jealousy.

Not only that, they can counteract poor social influences such as disregard for females, child abuse, violence, crimes, agitations. They can help you cope with difficult life circumstances. They can be a key to motivating themselves. Morality is setting a good example before others in my private view. In spiritual terms, it is often said that setting a good example is the greatest service you can render to society. Regardless of the scenario or opportunities, it could be in any sector.

Moral values are often personal. He or She loses the very objective of morality if he/she becomes a fundamentalist of moral values. Every individual comes from within his/her own moral values and should not be forcefully compelled down one’s throat. Children may be subjected to certain morality norms, but if he/she attempts to restrict his/her creativity and imagination through the unnecessary bindings of morality, it will not serve any purpose. Individual morality begins with oneself and in one's existence there may be fresh and comparatively distinct ideas of individual moralities.

Obviously, social morality has certain code of behavior and moral values in the community in which one lives. One should attempt as much as necessary to pursue them. Universal morality or a universal approach is required when it comes to spirituality. He/She can not only worry about his/her own self. The concept of being a universal being and not a local chapter has to be opened up.

Six Stages of Moral Development

Kohlberg, an American psychologist developed six stages of moral development. He used “Piaget’s storytelling technique to tell people stories involving moral dilemmas. “Kohlberg’s (1969) stage theory of moral development served this task for decades by investigating how moral reasoning influences moral behaviors in hypothetical situations.

While Kohlberg’s theory provided insight about the development of moral reasoning skills, his theory is limited because moral reasoning alone is not a strong predictor of moral action.” ("Recognizing Moral Identity as a Cultural Construct," n.d.)  In each case, he presented a choice to be considered, for example, between the rights of some authority and the needs of some deserving individual who is being unfairly treated.” ("Kohlberg - Moral Development," 2008)

Obedience and Punishment Orientation or stage one reflects that of moral thought. The child remains good to avoid being punished. This stage is also considered a level one or Preconventional Morality which relates to children younger than the age of nine not having a code of personal morality. In this level, the child believes that a predetermined set of rules is enforced by influential authorities that he or she must obey.

Individualism and Exchange or stage two is where children understand that there is not only one correct view provided by authorities, but that different people have different outlooks. These stages are both considered a level one where children in both stages realize punishment, yet they perceive it differently. Stage one punishment is associated with wrongness in the mind of the child such as punishment proves it is wrong to disobey and stage two on the other hand, punishment would be viewed as a threat the child wants to avoid. Stage two would still be considered preconventional though because the children speak as individualized rather than members of society. Next Kohlberg moves to a level two, Conventional Morality. At this level internalization values of moral standards are realized but not questioned.

Good Interpersonal Relationships or stage three begins this level. This stage of children is usually teens that believe people should live up to family and community standards and act right.

Next in this level comes Maintaining the Social Order or stage four where the person is more cognitive of the law and abiding by them. Level three or Post Conventional Morality defines itself as moral reasoning which is based on individual rights and justice.

Social Contract and Individual Rights or stage five is more of a questioning stage where people begin to realize different group have different values and morals.

Finally, we have Universal Principles or stage six. This stage relates to values that will be in most agreement whether or not it fits the laws. A great example here could be perceived as political.

Moral values vary with each individual however, when it comes to a dying stranger an individual should not be overly greedy. “Moral values are the standards of good and evil, which govern an individual’s behavior and choices. Individual’s morals may derive from society and government, religion, or self.” ("Moral Values," 2005) A common ground could be found in said drugs or even payment plan option should be available. To allow a person to die is essentially being in stage six and having no moral values, not caring at all, cold.

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Typically, culture does impact how we “see” the effectiveness of moral values. This goes back directly to parenting styles and the normality about parenting practices affect how kids are brought up. These standards influence what beliefs and values parents teach his/her kids, what behaviors are deemed suitable, and how these values and behaviors are taught as well. Culture also changes how parenting is perceived by the environment in which kids are brought up in. Culture is dwindled down to how kids are grown by his/her parents in distinct cultural situations to act differently. Parents' habits also impact his/her intellectual, physical, social, and emotional growth considerably. Culture also seemingly plays such a large role in the perception of "cold" or "warm" because society impacts parental forms and behavior. Parents do not parent the way they used to because of morality and kids are essentially “bubble wrapped”.

Morality impacts people's interactions with the environment because of moral obligations and environmental ethics. Morals seem to be shaped by religion, culture influences, parenting styles, and sociality. Any more people as a whole are negatively impacted with obligations to society, living up to the typical American standards. What happened to self-identity? People learn the majority of morals from a young age stemming throughout his/her lives. Weaker individuals are easily influenced and brainwashed essentially to believe whatever it is he/she is told. Today, it seems that people live as puppets to society. Using logic, an entity attempts to moral values could help determine what is right and what is wrong in a personal situation or any situation for that matter. Using the “Heinz and Drug” situation, the character traits and motives were awful. This storyline comes across as needy, greedy, only caring about oneself and not any other individual. Life should be more important than property or money.

In summary, Heinz should not steal the drug to avoid prison time and cooperate with obedience as in stage one. It is difficult to put into real perspective over a prison sentence or the death of a spouse however, if Heinz was only able to come up with half of the money for the drug it could be very easy to understand the thought of languishing in jail rather than the death of one’s spouse.

In theory, Heinz could steal the drug, take the punishment for the crime as call actions have consequences, yet pay back what is owed. Some people focus on what is believed to be the best at his/her best interest or because culture and morality, people try to live up to expectations of the social role. The best choice of Kohlberg’s stages should be stage six, post conventional level of moral development and human rights. The belief that everyone needs to afford the medicine and be saved regardless of his/her resources.

According to Kohlberg’s stages, reflection of this stage is that few people reach this point. Moral development tends to focus from infancy throughout adulthood on the appearance, improvement, and comprehension of morality. Morality also evolves throughout a lifespan and is affected by the perceptions and actions of a person when confronted with moral problems through the physical and cognitive growth of different periods.  Morality involves the sense of what is right and what is wrong by an individual; it is for this reason that young children and adults have different moral judgement. Morality is often synonymous with “rightness” and “goodness” in itself. Morality refers to some code of conduct from one’s own community, faith, or personal philosophy that governs one’s acts, attitudes, and thoughts.

References

Kohlberg - Moral Development. (2008, February 5). Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/kohlberg.html

Moral Development - symptoms, stages, Definition, Description, Common problems. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.healthofchildren.com/M/Moral-Development.html

Moral Values. (2005, September 9). Retrieved from https://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/moral-values-faq.htm

Recognizing Moral Identity as a Cultural Construct. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359277/

 

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