The Most Crucial Reaction

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Lawrence Kohlberg was a famous psychologist who came up with the three stages of moral reasoning: Preconventional morality, conventional morality, and postconventional. Kohlberg believed that the human reasoning process followed this exact order of the three stages. At the first stage, preconventioal morality, we weigh part of our decision on punishment and reward. In the second stage, conventional morality, a human weighs another part of the decision on what society believes is right or wrong. Lastly, postconventional morality, the decision maker weighs the last part of the decision on one's moral principles that can "overrule" what society views as right or wrong.
Although this reasoning process is well known in the psychology world, many refute Kohlberg's reasoning process. One argument against his psychological process that I believe to be true is women tend to "care" when men tend to adopt a "justice" orientation. The argument is supported in Shelley Taylor's studies on women's decisions under stressful situations which concluded, "the adaptive value of fighting or fleeing may be lower for females, who often have dependent young and so risk more in terms of reproductive success if injured or dislocated" (Dess 1). A second argument against Kohlberg that I believe to be supported strongly by society and psychology is that the stage of moral belief should not precede emotional belief. As stated by Scott Lilienfled, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Wolf in our psychology book, why can we know something isn't morally right without being able to explain why? For example, incest, we all know it's wrong, but does anyone know why?
In my opinion, Kolhberg's reasoning process has a good basis to what one's moral reasoning process actually is. Even though there are many who act against some certain stages, I can not see how a human can overlook a majority of Kohlberg's moral concepts in their decision making process.


Dess, Nancy K. "Tend and Befriend." Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness Find a Therapist. 1 Sept. 2000. Web. 25 Mar. 2012. .

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This page contains a single entry by fagan021 published on March 25, 2012 9:11 PM.

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