Kohlberg and Moral Development

Lawrence Kohlberg (1927–1987) formulated the stage theory of six culturally universal stages of moral development in his 1958 University of Chicago dissertation. This was as an elaboration of Jean Piaget's (1896–1980) moral development study (1932). In his dissertation, Kohlberg extended Piaget's work based on insights from philosophers George Herbert Mead (1863–1931) and James Mark Baldwin (1861–1934).

Universal Stages

Kohlberg's account referred to children's engagement in increasingly complex interaction patterns, with three types of associated cognitive development: developing concepts of self, other, and society; a developing concept of justice in interaction; and a developing concept of the ideal self. The young child's self is constituted in interactions with others and develops as it becomes able to function adaptively in increasingly broad social contexts, from primary caregivers to peer ...

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