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Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development

The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life.

Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son, 1847

The word moral as it applies to human conduct and thinking has several commonly understood dictionary meanings. These include to act with virtue, to act honestly and with right character, and to act justly. The word moral is also defined as a generally accepted standard or custom for right living in a society. All of these meanings are embedded within Lawrence Kohlberg's stage theory of moral development.

Historically, the study of morality has fallen within the purview of theology and philosophy. Because of the influence of the ...

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