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Lawrence Kohlberg

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The stages of moral development

Lawrence Kohlberg (25 October 1927 – 19 January 1987) was an American psychologist. Today, he is mostly known for his theory, that the development of a sense of what is morally right or wrong occurs in different stages. There are three main stages, which are subdivided:

  • (Pre-Conventional)
    1. Avoiding punishment
    2. Self-interest orientation
  • (Conventional)
    1. Interpersonal accord and conformity / Social norms
    2. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation
  • (Post-Conventional)
    1. Social contract orientation
    2. Universal ethical principles