Personality Cafe banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,999 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
WARNING: Long post.

Supposedly, a person goes through these stages of moral development (yes, I am lazy and just c&p'd everything from Wikipedia):
Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)
The pre-conventional level of moral reasoning is especially common in children, although adults can also exhibit this level of reasoning. Reasoners at this level judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences. The pre-conventional level consists of the first and second stages of moral development, and is solely concerned with the self in an egocentric manner. A child with preconventional morality has not yet adopted or internalized society's conventions regarding what is right or wrong, but instead focuses largely on external consequences that certain actions may bring.
1. Obedience and punishment orientation (How can I avoid punishment?)
In Stage one (obedience and punishment driven), individuals focus on the direct consequences of their actions on themselves. For example, an action is perceived as morally wrong because the perpetrator is punished. "The last time I did that I got spanked so I will not do it again." The worse the punishment for the act is, the more "bad" the act is perceived to be. This can give rise to an inference that even innocent victims are guilty in proportion to their suffering. It is "egocentric", lacking recognition that others' points of view are different from one's own. There is "deference to superior power or prestige".
2. Self-interest orientation (What's in it for me?)
Stage two (self-interest driven) espouses the "what's in it for me" position, in which right behavior is defined by whatever is in the individual's best interest. Stage two reasoning shows a limited interest in the needs of others, but only to a point where it might further the individual's own interests. As a result, concern for others is not based on loyalty or intrinsic respect, but rather a "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" mentality. The lack of a societal perspective in the pre-conventional level is quite different from the social contract (stage five), as all actions have the purpose of serving the individual's own needs or interests. For the stage two theorist, the world's perspective is often seen as morally relative.
Level 2 (Conventional)
The conventional level of moral reasoning is typical of adolescents and adults. Those who reason in a conventional way judge the morality of actions by comparing them to society's views and expectations. The conventional level consists of the third and fourth stages of moral development. Conventional morality is characterized by an acceptance of society's conventions concerning right and wrong. At this level an individual obeys rules and follows society's norms even when there are no consequences for obedience or disobedience. Adherence to rules and conventions is somewhat rigid, however, and a rule's appropriateness or fairness is seldom questioned.
3. Interpersonal accord and conformity (Social norms) (The good boy/good girl attitude)
In Stage three (interpersonal accord and conformity driven), the self enters society by filling social roles. Individuals are receptive to approval or disapproval from others as it reflects society's accordance with the perceived role. They try to be a "good boy" or "good girl" to live up to these expectations, having learned that there is inherent value in doing so. Stage three reasoning may judge the morality of an action by evaluating its consequences in terms of a person's relationships, which now begin to include things like respect, gratitude and the "golden rule". "I want to be liked and thought well of; apparently, not being naughty makes people like me." Desire to maintain rules and authority exists only to further support these social roles. The intentions of actions play a more significant role in reasoning at this stage; "they mean well ...".
4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation (Law and order morality)
In Stage four (authority and social order obedience driven), it is important to obey laws, dictums and social conventions because of their importance in maintaining a functioning society. Moral reasoning in stage four is thus beyond the need for individual approval exhibited in stage three; society must learn to transcend individual needs. A central ideal or ideals often prescribe what is right and wrong, such as in the case of fundamentalism. If one person violates a law, perhaps everyone would—thus there is an obligation and a duty to uphold laws and rules. When someone does violate a law, it is morally wrong; culpability is thus a significant factor in this stage as it separates the bad domains from the good ones. Most active members of society remain at stage four, where morality is still predominantly dictated by an outside force.
Level 3 (Post-Conventional)
The post-conventional level, also known as the principled level, consists of stages five and six of moral development. There is a growing realization that individuals are separate entities from society, and that the individual’s own perspective may take precedence over society’s view; they may disobey rules inconsistent with their own principles. These people live by their own abstract principles about right and wrong—principles that typically include such basic human rights as life, liberty, and justice. Because of this level’s “nature of self before others”, the behavior of post-conventional individuals, especially those at stage six, can be confused with that of those at the pre-conventional level.

People who exhibit postconventional morality view rules as useful but changeable mechanisms—ideally rules can maintain the general social order and protect human rights. Rules are not absolute dictates that must be obeyed without question. Contemporary theorists often speculate that many people may never reach this level of abstract moral reasoning.
5. Social contract orientation
In Stage five (social contract driven), the world is viewed as holding different opinions, rights and values. Such perspectives should be mutually respected as unique to each person or community. Laws are regarded as social contracts rather than rigid edicts. Those that do not promote the general welfare should be changed when necessary to meet “the greatest good for the greatest number of people”. This is achieved through majority decision, and inevitable compromise. Democratic government is ostensibly based on stage five reasoning
6. Universal ethical principles (Principled conscience)
In Stage six (universal ethical principles driven), moral reasoning is based on abstract reasoning using universal ethical principles. Laws are valid only insofar as they are grounded in justice, and a commitment to justice carries with it an obligation to disobey unjust laws. Rights are unnecessary, as social contracts are not essential for deontic moral action. Decisions are not reached hypothetically in a conditional way but rather categorically in an absolute way, as in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. This involves an individual imagining what they would do in another’s shoes, if they believed what that other person imagines to be true. The resulting consensus is the action taken. In this way action is never a means but always an end in itself; the individual acts because it is right, and not because it is instrumental, expected, legal, or previously agreed upon. Although Kohlberg insisted that stage six exists, he found it difficult to identify individuals who consistently operated at that level.
What I want to know is, where do you think you are in these stages of moral development? Which stage, which line of reasoning is most like your Fi?

My answer: I am definitely in the postconventional phase, the 6th stage, I think. Maybe the 5th. <- (said because I don't want to seem immodest.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
Well... since no one else wants to take a crack at this, I will. Sorry if I ramble.

Short answer: I think definitely Post-Conventional, maybe level 5. 6? Not sure. 5.5, haha.

Long answer: This is hard to answer objectively, but I'll try anyway. It's a challenge to answer this, because I feel like I encompass multiple stages at different points of my everyday life. It really depends on the situation.

When I was reading through the the Post-Conventional level and spotted, "contemporary theorists often speculate that many people may never reach this level of abstract moral reasoning," I was pretty shocked, and thought that couldn't be right: I figured out these things out years ago, and I'm not even 18 yet. I also consider this kind of thought to be basic knowledge among people in our society. Seriously, who hasn't thought about the purpose of laws and how they are not actually an intrinsic part of nature and law? At least, not societal and human-decreed laws.

Idk if this is telling of me, and idk if I should be sharing this, but oh well; but this also came to mind while I was reading some of the levels of Post-Conventional morality: I remember not too long ago, complaining to my mother (who is ISFJ, I think) that there was not a social contract for one to sign when one reached the legal age of adulthood, or at any age, really, to either exit or remain in the realm of society. This means the signer would renounce all rights and possessions and goods offered or obtained by or because of society, and also free himself of the constraints of following the laws held in place by societal structure. He would remain somewhere outside, in the wilderness, creating his own laws and following his own morality, an independent and monolithic figure. A modern-day Henry David Thoreau, anyone? I'm a bit of a romantic individualist; some kind of bastard child of libertarianism and anarchism :blushed:. Suffice it to say, she was not thrilled and pretty much called me crazy, but I can't blame her, I learned my lesson about talking to her about anything non-concrete a long time ago. I just kind of blabbed it out while I was concentrating on driving.

Anyway, I'm definitely in the realm of Post-Conventional moral thought.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,999 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well... since no one else wants to take a crack at this, I will. Sorry if I ramble.

Short answer: I think definitely Post-Conventional, maybe level 5. 6? Not sure. 5.5, haha.

Long answer: This is hard to answer objectively, but I'll try anyway. It's a challenge to answer this, because I feel like I encompass multiple stages at different points of my everyday life. It really depends on the situation.

When I was reading through the the Post-Conventional level and spotted, "contemporary theorists often speculate that many people may never reach this level of abstract moral reasoning," I was pretty shocked, and thought that couldn't be right: I figured out these things out years ago, and I'm not even 18 yet. I also consider this kind of thought to be basic knowledge among people in our society. Seriously, who hasn't thought about the purpose of laws and how they are not actually an intrinsic part of nature and law? At least, not societal and human-decreed laws.

Idk if this is telling of me, and idk if I should be sharing this, but oh well; but this also came to mind while I was reading some of the levels of Post-Conventional morality: I remember not too long ago, complaining to my mother (who is ISFJ, I think) that there was not a social contract for one to sign when one reached the legal age of adulthood, or at any age, really, to either exit or remain in the realm of society. This means the signer would renounce all rights and possessions and goods offered or obtained by or because of society, and also free himself of the constraints of following the laws held in place by societal structure. He would remain somewhere outside, in the wilderness, creating his own laws and following his own morality, an independent and monolithic figure. A modern-day Henry David Thoreau, anyone? I'm a bit of a romantic individualist; some kind of bastard child of libertarianism and anarchism :blushed:. Suffice it to say, she was not thrilled and pretty much called me crazy, but I can't blame her, I learned my lesson about talking to her about anything non-concrete a long time ago. I just kind of blabbed it out while I was concentrating on driving.

Anyway, I'm definitely in the realm of Post-Conventional moral thought.
(Warning: This too, is long.)
Thank you for posting. I know, it seems shocking that most adults don't get past stage 4, and yet I see examples of this all the time in everyday life. It's always been very frustrating for me, actually, to be around my peers, and I think a large part of it has to do with being Fi-dominant and always being at least 1 stage ahead of my peers in moral development.

I was in preconventional morality up until I was about 3 years old.
By the time I was 4 years old, I was already in conventional morality, operating on stage 3. My peers were all still doing preconventional morality at this time.
At around 11 or 12 years old, I entered stage 4. My peers were all still stuck on stage 3 at this time.
By 13 years, I was already at stage 5. My peers were at stage 3 or 4 at this time.
I entered stage 6 probably at probably about 17 years old. My peers are usually at 4, sometimes 3 and on rare occasions, 5. My professors can't even seem to comprehend that I'm at stage 6 morality, even if they are philosophers by profession.

Now, I am a developmental anomaly because my moral development was an essential coping mechanism in my early life. But I can definitely relate to what you have said in your post. Whenever we discuss moral issues at my university, I always end up arguing a position which others cannot believe because they are still stuck in conventional morality phases.

One example would be that I suggested that it could be possible for the human race to continue to exist with limited difficulty, rather than complete disaster, in the absence of any formal leadership. I further stated that in fact, while there would initially be many problems as there would be with any change so major, people would have to eventually treat each other well and agree (formally or informally) on basically treating each other by some basic standards, for the sake of their own survival, and that like any animal, our survival instinct is the strongest one, and therefore, there was really no possible way this could not happen.

All the other students were stunned. They simply could not imagine a world without a formal government, and in the event of the disintegration of a government, they could not imagine a positive solution without the introduction of a new formal leadership/system. My professors, even, could not comprehend the concept of people just generally taking actions based on a set of standards that people would have to adopt out of necessity, need for survival. No, they seemed to only be able to comprehend my suggestion if they turned into something Hobbesian, a formal contract outlining rules of behavior, with something to enforce the rules. Honestly, it sort of disappointed me that they could not comprehend anything beyond that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
One example would be that I suggested that it could be possible for the human race to continue to exist with limited difficulty, rather than complete disaster, in the absence of any formal leadership. I further stated that in fact, while there would initially be many problems as there would be with any change so major, people would have to eventually treat each other well and agree (formally or informally) on basically treating each other by some basic standards, for the sake of their own survival, and that like any animal, our survival instinct is the strongest one, and therefore, there was really no possible way this could not happen.

All the other students were stunned. They simply could not imagine a world without a formal government, and in the event of the disintegration of a government, they could not imagine a positive solution without the introduction of a new formal leadership/system. My professors, even, could not comprehend the concept of people just generally taking actions based on a set of standards that people would have to adopt out of necessity, need for survival. No, they seemed to only be able to comprehend my suggestion if they turned into something Hobbesian, a formal contract outlining rules of behavior, with something to enforce the rules. Honestly, it sort of disappointed me that they could not comprehend anything beyond that.
I've actually heard this argument a few times, from a lot of different people. Their "call to arms" has been basically for us to live in an enlightened age where laws need not be enforced nor even formed, and formal governmental structure abandoned; where people act out of not only self-interest, but in the interest of their fellow man.

In a way, though, hasn't this already happened? In the times before formal government and law, before even the most basic of societal structures were formed, don't you think there was a man and another man who thought that, "Hey, maybe we should work together and act based on our self interests. Maybe it is wiser to work together so we can survive." It was, I guess you could say, a microcosm of that greater scheme of things you described.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,999 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've actually heard this argument a few times, from a lot of different people. Their "call to arms" has been basically for us to live in an enlightened age where laws need not be enforced nor even formed, and formal governmental structure abandoned; where people act out of not only self-interest, but in the interest of their fellow man.

In a way, though, hasn't this already happened? In the times before formal government and law, before even the most basic of societal structures were formed, don't you think there was a man and another man who thought that, "Hey, maybe we should work together and act based on our self interests. Maybe it is wiser to work together so we can survive." It was, I guess you could say, a microcosm of that greater scheme of things you described.
Yes, actually, exactly. Really there couldn't even be any existence of life unless this principle were correct; instead of lions living together in prides, they would all compete with each other and no one would ever be able to eat or produce young.

Humans who live in a hierarchical society are taught from a very young age that on a basic level, they need someone to tell them what to do and how to behave, and authority figures in our culture are very good at continuing throughout our lives to reinforce that idea. I can't really blame people for having trouble making it past the conventional morality phase under these conditions.

I wish I was as good at thinking the way I'm supposed to think as most folks are. *laughs* Damn my Abby Normal brain!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rusalka

·
(ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧
Joined
·
5,110 Posts
I've never liked Kohlberg's stages. There's nothing to show that one stage is necessarily more advanced than another, aside from Kohlberg's own appraisal of the situation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Oliver

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,999 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've never liked Kohlberg's stages. There's nothing to show that one stage is necessarily more advanced than another, aside from Kohlberg's own appraisal of the situation.
Aside from the approximate age at which each phase of moral development occurs at, yeah.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
Humans who live in a hierarchical society are taught from a very young age that on a basic level, they need someone to tell them what to do and how to behave, and authority figures in our culture are very good at continuing throughout our lives to reinforce that idea. I can't really blame people for having trouble making it past the conventional morality phase under these conditions.
Now, I just can't believe that! I used to think that, but I think most people have it in them to think this way. I can't believe in that old adage (haha, might as well be an adage by now :laughing:) "people are stupid". Well, I'm not that smart. They must have the capacity to realize that, but they're either too lazy to get to that conclusion, or just are too distracted by concrete things to theorize very much.
 

·
(ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧
Joined
·
5,110 Posts
Aside from the approximate age at which each phase of moral development occurs at, yeah.
Does age necessarily beget more advanced morality?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
I don't particularly like this model, although I'm not in the mood to delve into a deeper discussion on its flaws and merits. The thing is that these sort of epistemological reasonings often ends up self-appraising. There's not so much a will to understand and develop morality as to single out those that do develop morality to be more mentally advanced. You could just as easily accuse the level 6 people of not being socially mature enough, in that they aren't capable of handling all the practical nuances that come into play when people exercise the social contract in practice, so they turn towards creating simpler and more abstract moral systems which are easier for them to comprehend.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,815 Posts
(Warning: This too, is long.)
Thank you for posting. I know, it seems shocking that most adults don't get past stage 4, and yet I see examples of this all the time in everyday life. It's always been very frustrating for me, actually, to be around my peers, and I think a large part of it has to do with being Fi-dominant and always being at least 1 stage ahead of my peers in moral development.

I was in preconventional morality up until I was about 3 years old.
By the time I was 4 years old, I was already in conventional morality, operating on stage 3. My peers were all still doing preconventional morality at this time.
At around 11 or 12 years old, I entered stage 4. My peers were all still stuck on stage 3 at this time.
By 13 years, I was already at stage 5. My peers were at stage 3 or 4 at this time.
I entered stage 6 probably at probably about 17 years old. My peers are usually at 4, sometimes 3 and on rare occasions, 5. My professors can't even seem to comprehend that I'm at stage 6 morality, even if they are philosophers by profession.

Now, I am a developmental anomaly because my moral development was an essential coping mechanism in my early life. But I can definitely relate to what you have said in your post. Whenever we discuss moral issues at my university, I always end up arguing a position which others cannot believe because they are still stuck in conventional morality phases.

One example would be that I suggested that it could be possible for the human race to continue to exist with limited difficulty, rather than complete disaster, in the absence of any formal leadership. I further stated that in fact, while there would initially be many problems as there would be with any change so major, people would have to eventually treat each other well and agree (formally or informally) on basically treating each other by some basic standards, for the sake of their own survival, and that like any animal, our survival instinct is the strongest one, and therefore, there was really no possible way this could not happen.

All the other students were stunned. They simply could not imagine a world without a formal government, and in the event of the disintegration of a government, they could not imagine a positive solution without the introduction of a new formal leadership/system. My professors, even, could not comprehend the concept of people just generally taking actions based on a set of standards that people would have to adopt out of necessity, need for survival. No, they seemed to only be able to comprehend my suggestion if they turned into something Hobbesian, a formal contract outlining rules of behavior, with something to enforce the rules. Honestly, it sort of disappointed me that they could not comprehend anything beyond that.
Perhaps they comprehended exactly what you suggested but simply disagreed with you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,999 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Perhaps they comprehended exactly what you suggested but simply disagreed with you.
No, they were having difficulty grasping what I was trying to say - when I was explaining my position, what they would repeat back to me was the Hobbesian view (which even they did not hold). No matter how I stated my position, that was the response I received. :dry:
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,815 Posts
No, they were having difficulty grasping what I was trying to say - when I was explaining my position, what they would repeat back to me was the Hobbesian view (which even they did not hold). No matter how I stated my position, that was the response I received. :dry:
That seems strange, especially since you were speaking to philosophy professors!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,999 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That seems strange, especially since you were speaking to philosophy professors!!
I know, right? It was very odd to me. My philosophy professor understood a little better, but he was foreign, so there were always some language barriers and I had to express things in a certain way to completely make myself understood by him, which perhaps I failed to do properly in this instance.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top