Within the field of psychology, there is a degree of difficulty when trying to define morality, although it significantly forms an important aspect of the human life. Regrettably, and on several occasions, the justification for a better personal life has led people to change and lose their moral values. However, in the same measure, morals should be restored and recognized. Ordinarily, morality in human beings is not just an old topic of psychology; rather it is a close conception about the meaning of life. Moral goodness is what gives people the sense of being called human (Ayala, 2010). Building on Kohlberg’s moral of development, morality largely depends on the way an individual accomplishes the tasks set before him during the stages or moral development (Garz, 2009). For instance, as Kohlberg noted children are likely to apply higher levels of reasoning when solving some problems but revert to lower levels when working on something consistent with their goals. Kohlberg also based his moral of development on the principle of; human beings are born without morals, but they acquire them as they interact with other people. Nonetheless, although many individuals disagree with Kohlberg’s moral development for different reasons; from a personal point of view, Kohlberg’s ideas of moral reasoning resonates with my way of thinking.
Kohlberg’s Moral Stage Theory
Essentially, as Garz elaborates, there are six stages of Kohlberg’s moral development. The first level of pre-conventional morality is further divided into the first stage of obedience and punishment, and the second stage of self-interest orientation. According to Garz, the first step involves the use of punishment to keep someone from doing a certain action and obey the rules. The second stage of self-interest orientation believes that morality is based on the satisfaction of the individual needs. For instance, if someone steals money for the treatment of a sick child, then the action is morally right because of the dire need of the doer. Level two is the conventional morality, divided into the third and the fourth stages of moral development. The third stage is the good boy-nice girl orientation, where a person is judged based on their role in the society. The fourth stage, which is the law and order orientation judges individuals based on their respect for the authorities and their adherence to rule. The third level is also divided into the fifth and sixth stage; the fifth step is the social contract orientation, and an individual’s morals are based on various opinions and values of different people before an action can be termed as morally upright. The last stage builds on the individual’s acceptance of ethical principles and judgment is usually innate. Individuals may violate rules based on their principles of justice.
As an individual who agrees with Kohlberg’s moral of development, stage five and six resonates well with my sense of morality, especially regarding individual values, principles, and perspectives. Ideally, I believe that in modern society some laws are unjust and do not serve the interests of the majority. In fact, from a personal viewpoint, laws are social contracts, and when they fail to meet the collective good of the majority, they should be adjusted or removed. The position is affirmed by the realization that every person is different and sometimes, breaking rules is consistent with their beliefs and principles. In reality, I believe that people do what is right because they believe it is morally right and it is serving their best interests. Individuals do not uphold morals because it is legal. Similarly, people hold different opinions, and their perspectives should be respected.
Ayala, F. J. (2010). The difference of being human: Morality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(2), 9015-9022. Garz, D. (2009). Lawrence Kohlberg: An introduction. Opladen: Barbara Budrich Pub.
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