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Kohlberg, Lawrence

Lawrence Kohlberg (1927–1987), a psychologist and a professor at Harvard University, investigated individuals’ moral reasoning, which led to the creation of his theory of moral development. Born in Bronxville, New York, Kohlberg began his career as a developmental psychologist in the early 1960s before moving to the field of moral education where he fashioned his well-known stages of moral development, which traced an individual’s progression of moral reasoning across identifiable, universal moral perspectives. Kohlberg died under suspicious circumstances, probably suicide, after contracting a parasitic infection, which had caused him to suffer for 16 years.

Kohlberg’s work was influenced primarily by the work of Jean Piaget (1896–1980), a pioneering cognitive developmentalist. Based on a long-term study conducted at Harvard’s Center for Moral Education, Kohlberg recorded responses ...

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