Comment: Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development

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Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development

Thanks for pointing out the book. I checked out a review and was reminded of Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development. He presented a scale. The first level is what we associate with children, with a motivation of not getting punished, for instance having been told in no uncertain terms, "Don't touch that stove!" An anecdote I recall: in the middle of the night, his wife in distress in labor, the husband got her and his daughter into the car and flew to the hospital. Still at that first stage, the young girl was distressed, too, crying, "Daddy, you can't go through red lights!" In any event, Kohlberg laid out six stages based on motivation. As an evaluation tool, the highest level was dropped from the scale, Stage 6, as it was felt that few actually achieved it - being motivated by "universal ethical principles." It's when you are "internally motivated," acting on what is right regardless of punishment, reward, law, contracts, social norms, etc. I found it interesting that the highest level was basically deemed unachievable. That's what it means to be truly free. Sad, huh? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kohlberg's_stages_of_moral_development
P.S. It's this concept of helping children to develop into internally-motivated adults that Waldorf education is called Education Towards Freedom. (Note: "free-thinking children" does not equal "free-thinking adult." But that's a different story.)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir