How can we develop our own set of moral principles?

State your personal reasons for developing this code. Make a list of your traits.

How can we develop our own set of moral principles?

State your personal reasons for developing this code. Make a list of your traits. Create a set of statements to follow.

Moral principles

are guidelines that people follow to ensure that they are doing the right thing.

These include things like honesty, fairness, and equality.


principles can be different for each person because they depend on how a person was raised and what is important to them in life. As a person becomes able to think in an abstract (or “formal” way, in Piaget's sense), ethical beliefs move from accepting what the community believes to the process by which community beliefs are formed. The new approach constitutes Stage 5, the ethics of the social contract.

However, an action, belief or practice is morally good if it has been created through fair and democratic processes that respect the rights of the people affected. Consider, for example, laws in some areas that require motorcyclists to wear helmets. In what sense are the laws about this behavior ethical? Was it created by consulting the relevant people and obtaining their consent? Were cyclists consulted and did they give their consent? Or what about the doctors or the families of cyclists? Reasonable and thoughtful people disagree about how thorough and fair these consultation processes should be. However, by focusing on the processes by which the law was created, people think in accordance with Stage 5, the ethics of the social contract, regardless of the stance they take on the use of helmets.

In this sense, beliefs on both sides of a debate on an issue can sometimes be morally sound, even if they contradict each other. These are the basic principles of moral development in its most vital, if naive, historical form, a dominant perspective in ancient ethics and traditional religion. By painting human nature in this ultimately elevated and dignified stance, visions of moral development cemented supreme hope in human progress. They predicted the flourishing of the most humane and admirable potentials of our species, leaving behind their troubled childhood.

Under critical scrutiny, notions of moral development gradually abandoned their identification of human psychology with virtue. However, for German idealism, its credibility continued to decline and reached its lowest point in the middle of the 20th century, when the “naturalness of human morality” seemed more difficult to balance with the astonishing inhumanity suffered by much of the world at war. From a scientific point of view, a continuously strengthening distinction between facts and values also placed the “natural” and “moral” on opposite sides of the fence, making the history of moral development and perfectionist notions seem mired in fallacy. Only in the late 19th century did moral development revive as an active field of research in the social sciences led by Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg's approach to cognitive development.

New credibility was gained for this effort by abandoning the traditional position of geneticists in moral development, which described even sophisticated moral reasoning as a physiologically age-determined phenomenon. For supporters of cognitive development, on the other hand, natural development involves complex trial-and-error combinations of social interaction, guided only indirectly by certain implastic similarities between human motivation and the basic cross-cultural institutions of social life. While these processes allow for great variation in moral and quasimoral socialization, their interaction produces markedly similar coping patterns. Only certain cognitive strategies seem capable of successfully managing basic social interaction.

Research suggests that the cognitive skills that drive them and their arrangement in a certain sequence are practically inevitable for the functioning of human society. And these cognitive competencies are decidedly moral in key and holistic aspects. In the theory (or axiology) of human nature, notions of moral development convey a sense of ourselves as dynamic and progressive beings. It is normal that we are constantly evolving and that we aspire to surpass ourselves, even beyond the maturity of adulthood.

By being potentially perfect or self-fulfilling, we inherit an august natural legacy to be fulfilled in our individual characters and through the community, which reveals our hidden but impressive inherent value. From this point of view, we owe it to ourselves not to sit still or languish in anything less than in the full realization and perfection of all our potentials and powers. In ancient philosophies, moral development was normally conceived “teleologically”. This means defining the reality or inherent essence of a moral phenomenon by the valuable function or purpose it ultimately serves.

Teleology is a solid version of functionalism x is what x does (good). In general, the more indirectly and morally undistinctive the vision is, the more plausible the representation of moral development will be. The evolutionary views of morality in and of themselves come a long way from previous innatist views that place moral insight and full-fledged virtue in our souls from birth. Such views cannot explain the anomaly of moral wisdom amidst the naivety of all the other beliefs of childhood, nor the failure of this wisdom to really show itself.

Likewise, direct views on moral development cannot explain the distinctive selection that makes the evolution of such a complex, civilized and culturally mediated form of reasoning and cooperation. Nor can they explain why a peculiarly institutionalized social experience seems necessary to achieve full and natural edification and character. In general, too, the logic of the history of moral development tells us more than its authorship, suggesting strategies for philosophical progress on the concept. Our “inherent goodness” is best seen as something similar to genetic instructions for seeking social competence and competence in a general sense.

The basic instruction is to unpack and improve the powers of personality as it adapts to any environment that welcomes your designs. Some parts of the social environment will welcome the combined expression of cognitive and social talents that enable cooperation. Some combinations will be practice-oriented, others will be more oriented to prudent reciprocity and mutual expectation in kind. Those who benefit from each other in these dimensions will progress, in a general sense of beneficial or valuable.

Some will work to produce standards and institutionalize them, norms of various types. With the decline of teleological metaphysics and axiology, the “natural development” of morality took on a more purely functionalist form. The development was not driven by a telos or a potential endpoint; rather, it foreshadows that end point by managing the means to achieve it. One could be a perfectionist ethic, the second, the functional psychology on which it is based and, thirdly, the adaptive needs that each of them satisfies the individual and society (Puka 1980).

In that combination, moral development becomes a naturally motivated effort to fulfill the prescriptions that require us to cultivate and express certain virtues. These are the virtues that, in turn, produce an effective personality and an excellent overall character, while encouraging a prosperous and progressive society. When that effort fails, the logic of moral development falls into several fallacies, seeming to convert moral norms into social and psychological norms by decree, and then tries to pass the attempt off as descriptive or factual. Efforts to avoid this outcome are worthwhile because of the valuable role that moral development plays in ethics.

In these aspects, moral development is to ethical perfectionism what psychological egoism is to ethical egoism. It makes excellent character and virtue natural, relatively easy to achieve, satisfying, and therefore motivationally rational. Immorality doesn't seem so naturally desirable to us that it should be banned. Instead, it simply presents a lukewarm attraction, a noticeable weakening and, therefore, an overall undesirable cast.

However, the natural development of morality can serve any type of ethical, perfectionist or other type, since it provides the psychological resources necessary to fulfill the obligations and activities you recommend. Unfortunately, neither the old teleological views of moral development nor their functionalist successors detailed the supposed processes of psychomoral evolution. Nor did they clarify the relationship between nature and the nurture involved. This pointed to the need for abundant empirical research.

Recent philosophical history made a rare nod to moral development through a theory of justice by Rawls (197). Like Kant before him, Rawls paid homage to Rousseau's vision of moral cooperation. This cooperation is nature's way of humanizing and civilizing the human race, not simply institutionalizing humanity's civilizing intention to stabilize and protect it. But we see in the hands of Rawls to what extent support for ethical prescriptions with psychological tendencies has been reduced under the threats of the naturalistic fallacy and other category errors.

Rawls only recognizes the logical requirement that just social institutions remain compatible with the facts of human psychology and its development, so that socializing each succeeding generation in judicial institutions is a feasible undertaking, guaranteeing compliance. It does not resort to moral development in search of moral support, basing value prescriptions on its facts. Empirical research, which is based so much on the main conceptions, distinctions and methods of philosophical analysis, cannot but interest philosophers. Their results are highly relevant to philosophical debates and suggest important roles for philosophy in scientific practice.

The Piagetian definition of the domain of moral development fruitfully distinguishes between morality, morality, ethics (as in professional codes), cultural spirit and ethics (such as “living with dignity”). Normative reasoning and reflective metacognition are also carefully distinguished within commonsense cognition itself. The research focuses on phenomena that have sufficient internal stability and cohesion to say that they develop, that undergo changes while retaining their identity and that inherently evolve, on their own. This contrasts with having an external form, so that it replaces an older version with a somewhat similar successor over time.

Normative moral theory helps to design the main research tools in moral development (the approach of research dilemmas and the interpretation of findings). Moral-philosophical concepts are used to define empirical categories of coding (identification) and punctuation (qualification) by topic, judgment, foundation or principle. The success of these categories suggests that the structural appropriateness of moral theory derives in part from the functionality of its logic in common sense and practice. This makes theoretical accounts of ethics that arise from “considered moral judgments” more than armchair credibility.

In addition, it suggests that the difficulties faced in applying moral principles to socio-moral issues are worthwhile and should be overcome with effort. Paths have been drawn that go from moral judgment to theory that should be followed in the opposite direction. Obviously, general moral principles and their logical prescriptivity indicate little in and of themselves about the viability of ethics. Therefore, the philosopher must welcome any empirical explanation that makes reasoning a motivating and practically effective force.

Advocates of moral development detail a variety of ways in which conceptual competence itself motivates principles-based choice and action, while being associated with moral emotions. Discovering empirical evidence of a different principle of competence-motivation is a great help for theories of practical reason and intention in general, given how central conceptualization is to human competence and adaptability. Showing a close relationship between reasons and emotions, the principles of competition, motivation and interest (the principle of pleasure, the law of effect or reinforcement) further reinforces the argument. But the philosophical reward of moral development goes further.

The desire to distinguish facts from value judgments had led modern psychology to explain morality. Using grossly reductionist positions, behaviorists described morality as an external conformity with the prevailing spirit of the social environment. Freudians, in turn, described morality as a combination of irrational forces born of biological impulses, together with the defense of the ego to deal with social threats and pressures. These representations not only create a disjunction between moral philosophy and psychology in which their views must be based on practice, but also between moral theory and the social sciences in general.

However, by tracing sequences of stages in the development of logical and scientific reasoning, Piaget only discovered two somewhat cohesive systems of moral thinking that developed naturally. The “heteronomous phase” of childhood conditioned right and responsibility on specific interests. It focused on compliance with approved social conventions as a means of complying with them. The “autonomous” phase of adults showed a greater concern for doing the right thing per se within the framework of mutual purposes.

This phase emerged when children became critical and self-critical with respect to their conventional moral beliefs and the social institutions that supported them, and also when they began to compare the different possible moral policies and practices with each other, to intuit the types of social purposes to which they should dedicate themselves. The ability to intuit these purposes, even in the face of scant and misleading information, is one of our great natural development achievements. It provides intriguing support to moral-political theorists who believe that the social contract model of ethics and just government is anything but the intellectual fiction that classical authors considered it to be. However, with Piaget, it is not clear that the ancient philosophy of moral development and its inclusion in the natural development of the human personality have been recovered.

Lawrence Kohlberg decided to investigate whether there was much more detail and sophistication in the natural development of moral reasoning. And he tenaciously continued this unique investigation until his death, some thirty-five years later. By drawing hundreds of colleagues to his empirical and educational mission, around the world, he virtually established moral development as a field. Kohlberg's approach centers the field to this day, with no comparable rival except skepticism.

However, much of the research is done using a simpler device (DIT) developed by Rest and colleagues (2000) that also yields findings on more components of moral judgment than Kohlberg's MJI. The continuous program of Kohlbergians and Neo-Kohlbergians is best known for an interview technique on moral judgment that led to a particular theory of moral judgment in six stages, also for educational programs designed to uplift urban students and inmates at risk and, in particular, for “being controversial”. Philosophers have actively participated in the debate on moral development, which has made Kohlberg's work both well-known and infamous in ethics. Perhaps he should be better known for being poorly understood and criticized.

Kohlberg's even more fundamental statement that moral development can only be authorized when morality is not relative seems to be dispensable. Moral judgment can become relatively developed, as does aesthetic and culinary judgment. Clearly, there are more and less developed palates and tastes, which would be valid for morality if it were mainly a matter of taste. Perhaps the most valuable service performed by Rest and his colleagues (2000) in summarizing their twenty years of Neo-Kohlberg research is to present the data without Kohlberg's bold statements, demonstrating that the stage sequence remains.

However, Kohlberg originally claimed to have a sixth and higher stage of moral development that prioritized Kantian respect and individual rights. But his research program eventually retracted this finding. Ongoing research around the world, combined with new statistical analyses of existing data, delegitimated the importance of many Phase 6 observations and left too little reliable data for the stage 6 statements. This places the highest empirical stage of Kohlberg's theory in the same place where the dominant moral philosophy is after two centuries of debate with two main sets of competing principles, one that promotes the progress of social welfare and benevolent virtues, and the other, mutual respect for individual freedom.

These are accompanied by several intuitive reasons about community assets, interpersonal responsibility and loyalty, equal economic opportunity and tolerance, and various virtues of friendship. This ethical state of affairs addresses at least the quasi-intuitionistic criteria of utilitarian rule as well as Kantian and deontological ones. The presence of interpersonal reasons and virtue in subsequent moral development is often overlooked. In fact, Kohlberg's own stage descriptions minimize them by focusing on what is new and distinctive at each subsequent stage of development, not on what is preserved in an inclusive way from previous stages.

General ethical principles are innovation in the later stages because they reflect a broader social perspective. This misleading emphasis on stage performances was considered necessary by the history of the stage scoring system. In the investigation, Scorers constantly confused similar moral reasons, expressed in adjacent scenic terms. Therefore, the distinctive scenic qualities had to be emphasized at each stage.

Philosophical critics who do not immerse themselves in the empirical research project and its requirements completely overlook issues of this kind and do not give credence to the ways in which an empirically based theory cannot be modified simply to meet conceptual objectives such as neutrality or elegance. In addition, Kohlberg's original thirty-year study, which began with the least sophisticated methodology and the least number of bias controls, recently received an exhaustive empirical reanalysis by Edelstein and Keller (vol. Which surprisingly confirmed most of Kohlberg's original findings. As noted, twenty years of parallel studies using a completely different research measure from that of Kohlberg also confirmed the main findings (Rest, Narvaez et al 2000).

The advocates of this Neo-Kohlbergian approach have detailed the role of moral structure in the perception and interpretation of moral issues, as well as the role of intermediate moral concepts and foundations that bring scenic logic closer to real life cases than universal principles (Rest, Narvaez, Bebeau and Thoma 2000). Every year, several large scale cross-cultural studies are reported that test both Kohlbergian claims and accusations of bias against them. The basic sequence of moral development is verified in each of them (see New Research on Moral Development). In the light of these findings, philosophical critics must address a question that is too late.

If the Kohlbergian scenario theory is wrong and ill-conceived on some main points, how can we explain the enormous data accumulated over half a decade that confirms its statements in a continuous and surprising way? After decades of methodological and conceptual criticism, why hasn't the description of moral development been close to being unconfirmed? Gilligan (and Noddings) argued for an unrecognized subtheme in male moral development and a preferred and comparatively valid topic among women, excluded from Kohlberg's original research sample. This topic of “care” focuses morality on relationship skills, on supporting, nurturing and helping, not on demanding, defending, demanding and compelling. Mature care shows great competence in caring for others, listening and responding sensitively to others through dialogue aimed at consensus. The powers inherent in the relationship come together to address moral difficulties, not the powers of individual ingenuity in problem-solving or deliberative argumentation.

As an ethic of good, care also emphasizes sharing aspirations, joys, achievements and with each other. In relation to the unique longevity of the Kohlbergian program, research on care is still in its infancy, as is its research methodology (Lyons, Brown, Argyris et. But even as a conceptual assumption (a hypothesis with a different voice), care has proven to be extremely influential in many fields that include literature, domestic violence, leadership counseling, and legal theory. He has received a series of serious criticisms in psychology and research theory (Walker, Maccoby %26, Greeno, Luria, Braebeck %26, Nunner-Winkler, Nichols, Tronto, Puka, Vol.

The very relevance of care for moral development remains unclear, as hardly any significant longitudinal research originally supported the point of view, nor has much been added since then. The three levels of development described are exactly parallel to what Gilligan herself describes as coping strategies, particular strategic responses to particular types of personal crises (Gilligan 1982, chap. These phenomena differ greatly from general competition systems developed and capable of handling moral issues in general. Gilligan also describes levels of care in the Perryan metacognition format, which has more similarities with ethical and interpersonal metacognition than with Piagetian first-order moral judgment.

Research does not show natural metacognitive development, apparently, in any domain, for example,. Gilligan also refers to levels of care as cognitive orientations, not as competition systems, since research also shows that they are very different cognitive phenomena (Perry, 196). Teachers who offer material that is not geared to the level of competence acquired by each student are “banging their heads against the wall” to a certain extent. Worse yet, their lessons are “bouncing back” when they are rejected as incomprehensible or radically discordant with common sense.

Or they are distorted and ill-conceived to fit the student's operating system. Improving the student's comprehension capacity should have the opposite effect, urging that the student's comprehension terms be adapted to the structure of the material, expanding their categories, adding different categories and interrelating them. For supporters of cognitive-moral development, this means presenting material that alters current terms of understanding and urging students to build new ones. Here the teacher can only get students to teach themselves and develop their own skills, as prescribed by both psychology and ethics.

Many instructors are likely to recognize the above phenomena in their teachings, and find that this image of them is partly enlightening and partly affirmative. Most ethics teachers are surprised by their ability to discover the common sense of Aristotle, John Stuart Mills, Kants, Humes and Lockes in their classrooms, simply by asking moral questions. The findings of moral development provide a partial, profound and systematic explanation of this phenomenon. Many teachers recognize that some students who “have correct viewpoints” don't have a very reflective understanding of them.

Others who seem to be wrong are often dealing with opinions on a much deeper level. And most instructors know when some lectures or class debates have no hope of getting anywhere. Yes, this is precisely what the theory of development and stage unity would predict. The Kohlbergian approach to moral development has given rise to numerous cross-cultural studies, which have incorporated the most developed cultural research methods of social anthropologists and have created some controversies on the subject of cultural relativism and universality (Sweder, vol.

Research on moral education, using Kohlberg's research and theory, has taken several forms. Some measure the effects of discussing specific moral dilemmas with students in the classroom, others measure the effect of creating “just communities” in which students can restructure their environment, making it more welcoming to morally sensitive reasoning. They were particularly interested in knowing if the model of the Piagetian stages could take precedence over the logical, social and moral aspects of the response. Narvaez has brought the moral perception component of this research to the classroom, evaluating strategies to make students more sensitive to the morally charged problems that arise in daily life.

For most of its journey, development only provides us with training tools to deal with the hostilities, which welcome us with full force from the start, always at the top of their game. The “Pedagogical Implications” of research on moral cognition are summarized below, with a focus on classroom practices. In the second stage, for example, it would also be considered morally “good” to pay a classmate to do another student's homework or even to avoid harassment or to give him sexual favors, as long as both parties consider the agreement to be fair. Utilitarianism is incapable of guaranteeing a minimum of fairness and equality, of considering such and other considerations as morally inherent and non-negotiable, of creating moral disjunctions that impose limits higher than obligation and limits lower than decency, of granting adequate place and protection to individual autonomy, etc.

Moral integrity produces greater self-esteem and personal satisfaction than material acquisition and social status. The main theories of cognitive, ego and social development do not make such extreme statements, and yet they are considered adequate and valuable without them. Later research on metacognition indicates that even commonsense reasoning distinguishes between interested values, moral conventions, and autonomous morality. Kohlberg's perennial stage descriptions focus on different concepts or moral themes at each stage, such as prudence, benevolence, or the advancement of social welfare.

Some of the most inspiring research on moral development shows the development and reflective motivations of everyday moral examples and heroes. .

Pam Skrip
Pam Skrip

Amateur reader. Extreme twitter scholar. Certified zombie junkie. Total student. Professional web scholar.