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Moral Development and RealityBeyond the Theories of Kohlberg, Hoffman, and Haidt$
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John C. Gibbs

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199976171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199976171.001.0001

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Kohlberg’s Theory

Kohlberg’s Theory

A Critique and New View

(p.81) 4 Kohlberg’s Theory
Moral Development and Reality

John C. Gibbs

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of morality. It first considers Kohlberg's use of Jean Piaget's work and the stage-developmental writings of John Dewey to fashion a six-stage sequence that he hoped would be clearly invariant and long-lasting in scope. It then shows how that attempt resulted in a misrepresentation of “development” in the Piagetian sense and the nature of moral judgment maturity, even as Kohlberg succeeded in establishing the increasing importance of contemplative (or hypothetical-deductive) reflection in moral judgment development. More specifically, the chapter argues that Kohlberg's specific stage typology was misguided and accordingly proposes a new view of “the right” in moral development.

Keywords:   morality, Lawrence Kohlberg, Jean Piaget, John Dewey, moral judgment, right, moral development

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