Stealing and moral reasoning: kohlbergis stages of moral development essay

Sylvia is dying from a rare form of cancer. There is one drug the doctors think might save her recently developed by a druggist near her. Do you think it is okay for Heinz to steal the drug?

Stealing and moral reasoning: kohlbergis stages of moral development essay

Get Full Essay Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues. Get Access Stealing and Moral Reasoning: Such judgment based on moral reasoning was studied by Jean Piaget in a four-stage constructive theory of cognitive development, and was further explored by Lawrence Kohlberg in his six-stage constructive theory of moral development.

Piaget and Kohlberg—both significant figures of developmental psychology, epistemology, and ethics—focused on the growth of moral reasoning across human lifespan, specifically across developmental stages. These stages emerge one after the other, with each stage more comprehensive at responding to moral dilemmas than the last.

This signified that intellectual development regarding morally-relevant undertakings and issues did not stop at age 11, as what Piaget mentioned in his theory. Kohlberg believed and proved that during adolescence, moral reasoning further developed adequately. His six-stage theory was further divided into three major levels: Kohlberg conducted a study that showed these levels of moral reasoning across children of different age levels who were asked to respond to a specific moral predicament popularly known as the Heinz Dilemma.

Kohlberg and the Classroom

The dilemma is such: The doctors claim that there is only one drug that might possibly save her. However, only one pharmacist, who lived near the woman, made the life-saving drug. The drug was expensive — too expensive for most people to afford and was not covered by most insurance plans.

The pharmacist was actually charging nearly ten times what the drug cost to make. The husband tried bargaining with the pharmacist for the drug, but the pharmacist refused to release the drug without full payment.

Desperately trying to save his wife, the husband breaks into the pharmacy and steals the drug.

Stealing and Moral Reasoning: Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development | Essay Example

Was the husband wrong to steal the drug? For pre-conventional morality, the first two of the six stages are highlighted. This level emphasizes intrinsic motivation and self-referencing of moral judgment among children The first stage is concentrated on obedience and punishment, wherein children believe that going against authority-imposed rules would merit negative consequences and should thereby be avoided.

Responses from children of this stage would thus include the husband not stealing the drug because stealing is forbidden by the law, or the husband stealing the drug since he was already offering the pharmacist the right and reasonable amount of money.


Individualism and exchange is hallmarked by the second stage. Since children from this bracket are now aware that not only the view of those in authority is acceptable for different people have different opinions and interests, they may respond to the Hienz Dilemma in the following ways: The second level of moral development is conventional morality, which focuses on judging moral predicaments based on the conditions of a society as a whole and covers the succeeding two stages of moral development.

With these responses, this stage thereby gives importance to good and proper behavior for the love and concern for others. Stage four, on other hand, merits responses that imply that the husband should not steal the drug because if everyone with a similar problem did so, then society would turn chaotic.

This is because the fourth stage amplifies the maintenance of social order. Love and concern are overpowered by laws that uphold societal structure and systematic group control. The last level, post-conventional morality, looks at people as separate entities from the society and should therefore be prioritized above the majority.

Respondents from the fifth stage, who live with the social contract and individual rights, realize that an efficiently-operating society is not necessarily a good one and that having laws to follow correspond to having individual rights and freedom to uphold as well.

The husband should also not steal the drug because the pharmacist had the right to indicate his preferred price. Finally, universal principles are underlined in the sixth stage.

This stage calculates the value of having freedom or democracy, since not all application of such lead to justice. The impartial dignity and equal respect for all are hence stressed.

Stealing and moral reasoning: kohlbergis stages of moral development essay

Other crucial values such as care and compassion are overlooked by the concentration on moral justice. Moreover, Kohlberg focused merely on moral reasoning and not on moral action, which are two different aspects in considering the Heinz dilemma. Kohlberg provided the world with a more solid foundation into learning more on human moral development.

Theories of Development [electronic version]. Stages of Moral Development. Retrieved November 4,from:Heinz is desperate, and considering breaking into the man’s store and stealing the drug for his wife.

Do you think it is okay for Heinz to steal the drug? How come? Social psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg often used stories like this to investigate the development of moral reasoning in people.

Kohlberg Dilemmas Form A Dilemma I. Joe is a fourteen-year-old boy who wanted to go to camp very much. His father promised him he could go if he saved up the money for it himself.

Stealing and moral reasoning: kohlbergis stages of moral development essay

So Joe worked hard at his paper route and saved up the forty dollars it cost to go to camp, and a little more besides. May 25,  · The central idea has received reasonable support progress in moral reasoning and is indeed closely related to cognitive development.

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Studies also show that youngsters generally do progress through kohlberg’s stages of moral reasoning in the order that he proposed. Stages of moral development according to kohlberg stages of moral development by lawrence kohlberg () i pre-conventional level at this level, the child is responsive to cultural rules and labels of good and bad, right or wrong, but he interprets the labels in.

The six stages of moral development are grouped into three levels of morality: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional morality. For his studies, Kohlberg relied on stories such as the Heinz dilemma, and was interested in how individuals would justify their actions if placed in similar moral .

Stealing and Moral Reasoning: Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development Essay Sample Numerable instances in an individual’s life challenge his or her moral capacities and inhibitions.

Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development - Wikipedia