Moral Development

Topics: Morality, Kohlberg's stages of moral development, Jean Piaget Pages: 4 (1362 words) Published: November 18, 2013

Describe and evaluate two theories of moral development.

This essay will demonstrate the explanation and the evaluation of two different theories of moral development. Moral development is related to behavior, and psychologists mean by moral behavior is that the judgment of person. Jean Piaget is the most renowned psychologist for his work on moral development. However, his theory was limited and not developed as Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory, but Piaget made a favour for Kohlberg by provided him the starting point of the studying.

Starting with Piaget’s theory, which was focused on children and how do they recognise right and wrong. It is worth to know that moral development has been divided by Piaget to three age stages, the first stage is pre-moral judgment which is from birth to five years old, the second stage is moral realism, it is also called heteronomous morality, children here are between five to nine years old, the rules in this stage are unchangeable and they are obligatory by others and the punishment is always harsh. However the third stage moral relativism which is also called autonomous morality, children in this stage are older than ten years old, and rules here can be flexible to accommodate the situation, and the punishment is adjusted to fit the offense.

To evaluate Piaget’s theory, it is important to know if his theory has supported evidence or not. Many psychologists’ findings were consistent with Piaget’s theory, like Hoffman (1970) “who confirmed that younger children see rules as moral absolutes”. However, Judith Smetana (1981, 1985) found that young children about three years old were aware of rules and showed respect. In addition, an important question is that; did Piaget’s theory cover moral development, Piaget did not study children beyond eleven years, in opposite of many researchers who found many stages of moral development behind this age. Piaget study who claimed that children at three-year-old cannot take into...

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