The cognitive-developmental morals theory of Lawrence Kohlberg



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This paper deals with the cognitive-developmental moral theory of Lawrence Kohlberg. Kohlberg believes that individuals develop their moral reasoning through six major stages, each characterized by a higher level of reasoning than the preceding stage. Development results when an individual is faced with a moral dilemma and is exposed to a solution of the dilemma which is based on reasoning at a level of reasoning one higher than the individual's own. This paper describes, in detail, the characteristics of the six major stages, the manner of development through the stages, representative experiments done by Kohlberg, and possible applications of the theory, especially in the area of public moral education. The final section of the paper offers criticisms of the theory.