Kohlberg Essay

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CO 610 Dr. Mason Rebekah Good Box 154a Kohlberg Theory Summary October 23, 2006 Five Critical Concepts for Understanding Kohlberg 1. Moral Judgment is a cognitive and reflective process in which an individual weighs his values and orders them in a logical way to determine what is best. This process often includes one weighing the claims of others against one's own claims (Hersh, p. 49). The way a person utilizes his or her moral judgment also parallels and indicates cognitive development. Exercising moral judgment is a normal part of everyday thinking. 2. Role Taking "the capacity 'to react to the other as someone like the self and to react to the self's behavior in the role of the other'" (Hersh, p. 49), is the source of moral judgment according to Kohlberg. It is the process that enables children to compare their own claims with another's claim. A person's reasoning in Kohlberg's later stages of moral development reflect an ability to take the role of other persons, of government and of law in moral conflict decisions. 3. Justice is the highest moral value that individuals strive to attain in the process of moral development. It is an abstract principle that can be utilized universally to make moral decisions; it applies in all cultures. "Mature moral thinkers realize that behaving in line with their beliefs is an important part of creating a just social world" (Berk, quoting Gibbs (1995), p. 392). Individuals operating at the Postconventional level understand justice best. 4. Heinz Dilemma is the title given to the most well known of Kohlberg's nine moral dilemmas that he utilized in judging a person's moral development. This dilemma consists of having to decide whether a man, Heinz, should steal a drug to save his dying wife. The drug is overpriced, the druggist is cold hearted and Heinz cannot come up with the

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