Kohlberg’s Scale of Moral Development


Kohlberg’sScale of Moral Development

TheKohlberg’s scale of moral development claims that logic andmorality develop through constructive stages. The theory argues thatjustice determines moral development that is a process that continuesin an individual’s lifetime. Further, the theory states that moralreasoning is the basis for the ethical behavior, it goes on toidentify six stages through which individuals go through whileresponding to moral dilemmas. Each stage is considered adequate toanswer to the problem at hand. The six stages are grouped into threelevels of two stages each that include pre-conventional morality,conventional morality and post-conventional morality. According tothe theory, it is exceedingly rare to regress to the stages sincethat means that the individual loses the use of higher stageabilities. Further, the stages cannot be skipped as each provides anew and necessary perspective that is more comprehensive anddifferentiated than the predecessors although the stages areintegrated.

Ratingon the Kohlberg’s scale of moral development is based on how anindividual justifies behaviors. There is hence a relationship betweenhow someone scores on the scale and their behavior. However, thestages are not a method of ranking how moral someone’s behavior is.

First,high on Kohlberg’s scale of moral development is thepost-conventional level, also known as the principled level. Anindividual realizes that individuals are separate entities from thesociety and that the person’s perception may take precedence overthe society’s view. Martin Luther King belongs to this level.Individuals are committed to justice, and they have a commitment togo against unjust laws. Decisions at this stage are not madehypothetically but in a rather categorical absolute way. They involvean individual imagining what they would do in another person’sshoes. The action undertaken is in not a means but an end in itself.

Theylive by ethical principles that typically include basic human rightsand freedoms such as human freedom, fundamental human rights, andjustice. Martin Luther King was a visionary leader he was deeplycommitted to achieving social justice through nonviolent means. Afterhe had been elected as the president of the African –Americangroup, Luther declared that they had no alternative but to protest.Further, he added that for years the African Americans had given thewhites the feeling that they liked how they were treated. Finally, hesaid that the only thing that could enhance their patience isjustice.

Lowerin the scale is the pre-conventional level, individual’s judgemorality of an action by using its direct consequences. They behavein a selfish manner and focuses mainly on the external consequencesthat may result from their actions. An action is categorized as wrongbecause the perpetrator is punished. Compared to Luther, Chris Brownpleaded guilty to a felony assault of his girlfriend Rihanna andaccepted a decision that he be sentenced to five years of probation,domestic violence counseling for a year and half a year communityservice.

Atthe pre-conventional level, the extremes of the punishment the moresevere an action are perceived to be .sometimes even the innocentvictims tend to feel guilty based on the proportion of theirsuffering. The Individuals will decline to act because they would getpunished. Further, in addition to the punishment granted to ChrisBrown, several organizations felt that the punishment was not severeenough. Even after the punishment granted to Chris Brown, severalorganizations that were against domestic violence that criticized theappeal deal, they even advocated that the punishment was not severeenough basing their argument on the influence that Chris Brown hadover the youth.

Thepost-conventional moralists hold that rules are not total dictatesthat ought to be followed without questioning. Luther’s firstdemonstration in the year 1955 was against the law of segregatedpublic transport. It began with the arrest of an American Africanwoman named Rosa Parks. The arrest was after she failed to give upher seat to white men who were standing in a bus she was travelingin. Luther made a speech declaring the act of injustice. Later, heorganized a bus boycott for 382 days of walking to work.

Contraryto the pre-convention level, the morality of actions is judged bycomparing the effects to the society’s views and expectations. Theindividuals are said to have accepted the society’s conventionsconcerning what is right and what is wrong. As a result, individual’sfollows society’s norms even when there are no consequences foreither obedience or disobedience. People adhere to rules rigidly, andthey seldom question the level to which a rule or a law isappropriate. After pleading guilty to a felony, Chris Brown accepteda plea deal of community labor, five years` formal probation, anddomestic violence counseling. Further, Chris Brown never questionedwhen his application for a visa to enter the UK was denied because hewas guilty of a serious criminal offense as a result of the assault.

Postconventional moralists act because they feel it’s right regardlessof whether there will be punishment or not. These are very rarecharacters to identify. After the bus boycott demonstration, Luther’sfamily was attacked but the African community took legal actionagainst the city ordinance where they won on a supreme court’sdecision: separate is not equal. Later the authority lifted the lawthat mandated segregated public transport.

Contraryto the post-conventional principles, in the pre-conventional level,action is driven by self-interest. The right behavior is defined bywhatever an individual believes to result in their best interests.They consider their reputation and relationships with other groups ofpeople. All actions are hence aimed at serving the individual`s needsor interests. Chris Browns effort to apologize for his actionsextended to an interview with Larry King live, he admitted that thecharacter he exposed is not what he wants to be. His mother alsoadmitted and confessed that Chris Brown had never been a violentperson. In a bid to manage his relationships, Chris Brown explainedthat he grew in a household where his mother received constantassaults from his stepfather who repeatedly assaulted his mother andhe was very shocked by what he did to his girlfriend. Further ChrisBrown later, released a two-minute video on his YouTube pageapologizing to his fans and Rihanna for the assault. He expressed theincident as his &quotdeepest regret&quot. Further, in pursuit ofmanaging his relationships, he said that he has repeatedly apologizedto Rihanna and that he was willing to accept full responsibility forhis actions.

MartinLuther King is liked more. Following his activism, he remains themost widely Known African –American leader of his era. UnitedStates honored his life and accomplishments with a national holiday.Public buildings, schools and a memorial on independence mall inWashington DC are named after him. His life had a seismic effect onrace relations.

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