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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: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190878214

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190878214.001.0001

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Kohlberg’s Theory

Kohlberg’s Theory

A Critique and New View

(p.91) 4 Kohlberg’s Theory
Moral Development and Reality

John C. Gibbs

Oxford University Press

Given this cognitive-developmental concern with superficiality-to-depth in moral judgment or understanding, Kohlberg was particularly concerned to discover and articulate an age trend and possible sequence of developmental advances or stages that may be universal. Our critique of Kohlberg’s theory notes that, although his specific stage typology was misguided, he almost single-handedly put cognitive moral development on the map of American psychology. He encouraged attention to the continued development of moral judgment beyond the childhood years. Finally, he speculated from case studies of mature moral thinkers in existential crisis that there may be a deeper reality (“cosmic perspective”), one that underlies profound moral perception and can support the moral life. Building from Kohlberg’s and others’ contributions, we propose in this chapter a new view of life-span sociomoral development.

Keywords:   Lawrence Kohlberg, moral judgment, existential crisis, moral development, psychology

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