Kohlberg - K. Tamayo

Moral Development
Lawrence Kohlberg created 3 levels of
moral development each with its own
two stages
Preconventional Level
9 and younger
 morality is seen as external
 conform to rules imposed by
authority to avoid punishment or
obtain rewards
Preconventional Level
Stage 1: Punishment and
Obedience Orientation
– morality is based on punishment
– obey because authority says so
Preconventional Level
Stage 2: Naïve Hedonism
– morality is based on rewards
– obey only when its own interest
– if it feels good, its right
Conventional Level
early adolescence
 abides by own standards but they
are the standards of others
 obeys to obtain praise,
recognition, and maintain social
Conventional Level
Stage 3: Good Boy or Good Girl
– trust, caring and loyalty to others
are the basis of moral judgments
– adopts parental standards to be
good boy/girl
Conventional Level
Stage 4: Authority and Social
– understands social order; law,
justice, and duty
– law maintaining
Postconventional Level
early adulthood
 morality based on own standards
 recognizes alternative moral
causes, explores options and
decides personal moral code
Postconventional Level
Stage 5: Community v. Individual
– values and law are relative and
standards may vary
– recognizes laws are important to
society but laws can be changed
– "life" and "liberty" become more
important than law
Postconventional Level
Stage 6: Individual Conscience
– develops moral standards based on
universal human rights
– humans and life are most important
Most people do not get
beyond conventional
In Europe, a woman was near death from
cancer. One drug might save her, a form of
radium that a druggist in the same town had
recently discovered. The druggist was charging
$2,000, ten times what the drug cost him to
make. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went
to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but
he could only get together about half of what it
cost. He told the druggist that his wife was
dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let
him pay later. But the druggist said, “No.”
Should Heinz steal
the drug? Why or
why not?
Stage 1: Punishment orientation.
– Example: “He shouldn’t steal the drug
because he might get caught and be
punished” (avoiding punishment)
Stage 2: Pleasure-seeking
– Example: “It won’t do him any good to
steal the drug because his wife will be
dead by the time he gets out of jail” (selfinterest)
Stage 3: Good boy/good girl
– Example: “He shouldn’t steal the drug
because others will think he is a thief. His
wife will not want to be saved by
stealing” (avoiding disapproval)
Stage 4: Authority orientation.
– Example: “Although his wife needs the
drug, he should not break the law to get
it. His wife’s condition doesn’t justify
stealing” (traditional morality of
Stage 5: Social-contract
– Example: “He should not steal the drug.
The druggist response is unfair but
mutual respect for the rights of others
must be maintained.” (social contract)
Stage 6: Morality of individual
– Example: “He should steal the drug but
alert authorities he has done it. He will
have to face a penalty, but he will save a
human life.” (self-chosen ethical