Using the Kohlberg lecture notes as your source, discuss each of the Stages of Moral development considering: What does each stage mean? Give an example of a person acting in that stage Why or when is that stage good or bad compared to the other stages? THE NOTES TO COMPLETE ARE BELOW!!! In order to use Kohlberg’s theory and its modifications to help you understand these systems of government, let me give you a user friendly synopsis of this theory. First, this theory is based on individual levels of morality through which individuals can advance in their moral development, beginning with stage 1 and moving through stage 6. Stage 1: Egocentric- the individual or system only thinks about themselves or a small group of people within the system. Stage 2: I’ll help you, but what’s in it for me- individuals or systems will only engage in activity only if they believe that activity will help them. Stage 3: Golden Rule- before you say or do anything to anyone, you put yourself in their position. If you find the position uncomfortable or unrealistic, you do not put the individual or system in that position (Do on to others as you would have others do on to you). Stage 4: Follow the system- individuals and systems follow the rules blindly because the individual or system says that those are the rule that must be followed. Stage 5: Challenge the system- individuals and systems question the rules and why they are the accepted policy. Stage 6: Value all people- individuals and systems value all credible people and systems. According to this theory, individuals will develop a higher level of morality as they advance through a resolution of a conflict or dilemma. So, someone starting at Stage 1 could potentially move to Stage 3 while dealing with a conflict by putting themselves in the position of those who he/she opposes. Therefore, as you apply these theories to the different dilemmas and conflicts that we will discuss in class, you can also advance through these stages of moral development. Kohlberg created the Heinz Dilemma in which he takes a dilemma and frames each stage and then explains how/why the decision fits that stage. Please read this carefully: Heinz’s dilemma is a frequently used example in many ethics and morality classes. One well-known version of the dilemma, used in Lawrence Kohlberg’s,Stages of Moral Dilemma is stated as follows: Heinz’s wife was near death, and her only hope was a drug that had been discovered by a pharmacist who was selling it for an exorbitant price. The drug cost $20,000 to make, and the pharmacist was selling it for $200,000. Heinz could only raise $50,000 and insurance wouldn’t make up the difference. He offered what he had to the pharmacist, and when his offer was rejected, Heinz said he would pay the rest later. Still the pharmacist refused. In desperation, Heinz considered stealing the drug. Would it be wrong for him to do that? Should Heinz have broken into the store to steal the drug for his wife? Why or why not? From a theoretical point of view, it is not important what the participant thinks that Heinz should do. Kohlberg’s theory holds that the justification the participant offers is what is significant, theform of their response. Below are some of many examples of possible arguments that belong to the six stages: Stage one (obedience): Heinz should not steal the medicine because he will consequently be put in prison which will mean he is a bad person. Or: Heinz should steal the medicine because it is only worth $20,000 and not how much the druggist wanted for it; Heinz had even offered to pay for it and was not stealing anything else. Stage two (self-interest): Heinz should steal the medicine because he will be much happier if he saves his wife, even if he will have to serve a prison sentence. Or: Heinz should not steal the medicine because prison is an awful place, and he would more likely languish in a jail cell than over his wife’s death. Stage three (conformity): Heinz should steal the medicine because his wife expects it; he wants to be a good husband. Or: Heinz should not steal the drug because stealing is bad and he is not a criminal; he has tried to do everything he can without breaking the law, you cannot blame him. Stage four (law-and-order): Heinz should not steal the medicine because the law prohibits stealing, making it illegal. Or: actions have consequences. Stage five (human rights): Heinz should steal the medicine because everyone has a right to choose life, regardless of the law. Or: Heinz should not steal the medicine because the scientist has a right to fair compensation. Even if his wife is sick, it does not make his actions right. Stage six (universal human ethics): Heinz should steal the medicine, because saving a human life is a more fundamental value than the property rights of another person. Or: Heinz should not steal the medicine, because others may need the medicine just as badly, and their lives are equally significant. Now let us apply these stages to an issue so that you get a better understanding of what you will do in the course. In the 1970s, Boston had to desegregate its school system. The government took a Stage 5: Challenge the system position because the Boston Public School System was not providing an equal education for all of its students. The government then moved to a Stage 6: Value all people position because it valued all students regardless of their race by enforcing desegregation. The backlash was the “white flight” from the city of Boston. This was when many white families resorted to Stage 1: Egocentric or Stage 2: What’s in it for me positions and decided to move from Boston so that their children would not be forced into a school system that they felt was “inappropriate.” In this example, we can now see the different levels of morality at which the different entities of the desegregation issue in Boston function and from this we can see how the city of Boston resolved the conflict of segregation vs. desegregation in its schools. In addition, we can also see how the school systems resolution then cause minor conflictions in other communities with the “white flight” because those individuals were functioning at a lower stage of moral development. Again, this is an example of a dilemma that is easier to understand when it is framed with Kohlberg’s theory of moral development.
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