Love Essay

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Lawrence Kohlberg was a developmental theorist of the mid-twentieth century who is best known for his specific and detailed theory of children's moral development. His work continues to be influential today and contemporary research has generally supported his theory. Kohlberg developed a six stage theory of moral development, and he grouped these six stages into three, higher-order levels of development: 1) the Pre-Conventional Level, 2) the Conventional Level, and 3) the Post-Conventional or Principled Level. Each level is then further sub-divided into two stages to make a total of six stages. The Pre-Conventional Level includes: a) stage one, the punishment and obedience orientation, and b) stage two, the instrumental purpose orientation. The Conventional Level includes: a) stage three, the morality of interpersonal cooperation, and b) stage four, the social-order-maintaining orientation. The Post-Conventional Level includes a) stage five, the social-contract orientation, and b) stage six, the universal ethical principle orientation. This article focuses on the particular stages of moral development associated with adolescent development. Therefore, the discussion begins with stage three, the morality of interpersonal cooperation, within the Conventional Level of moral reasoning. According to Kohlberg's theory, moral development proceeds in a linear, step-wise fashion; i.e., moral development proceeds gradually from one stage to the next, in a predictable, ordered sequence. Although Kohlberg recognized each child progressed through these stages at different rates, and acknowledged that some youth may never reach the highest stages, his theory does not account for regression back to former, previously mastered stages as do some other developmental theorists. Kohlberg believed that by early adolescence most youth have reached the mid-level of moral reasoning

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