Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of morality
Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of morality development most accurately portrays the way humans chose their morality. Carol Gilligan’s theory that girls develop differently because of the emphasis put on a woman’s role in caring for others is sound, but oversimplifies. And Jean Piaget’s theory may accurately describe the cognitive process of differentiating between the hard and fast societal rules and the ones that can be bent or broken, but she never accounts for the self and self-needs in her theory (Feldman, 2006).
The surprising thing is that all three theories assume that society is the primary teacher of morality to children. Society can include family members and friends, so it can accurately reflect the familial role in morality. Only Kohlberg comes close to explaining people who choose to stray from societal norms. Kohlberg’s theory accounts for the concept of “to thine ownself be true”, something none of the other theories do. (Feldman, 2006). Kohlberg’s example of stealing the medicine to save one’s wife is the only time a moral dilemma is addressed in the three theories. If one of the other theories made sense, they would be able to explain why people stray from society’s morality. Kohlberg is the only one of the theories that makes sense.
Feldman, R. S. (2006). Development Across the Life Span. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson