The following quotes from famous people correspond to Kohlberg’s 6 stages of moral reasoning. There are 2 quotes given for each stage. Group and label the quotes for each of the six stages and explain your rational:
Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment Orientation
1. “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
2. “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” – Thomas Jefferson
Stage 2: Individualism and Exchange
1. “The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market.” – Milton Friedman
2. “Success is not about playing a role. It’s an ecosystem of people who want to strive for the same thing.” – Indra Nooyi
Stage 3: Interpersonal Relationships
1. “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – Arnold H. Glasow
2. “Power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society.” – Michel Foucault
Stage 4: Maintaining Social Order
1. “The law embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
2. “If you want peace, work for justice.” – Pope Paul VI
Stage 5: Social Contract and Individual Rights
1. “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” – John F. Kennedy
2. “Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.” – Atifete Jahjaga
Stage 6: Universal Principles
1. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
2. “The only way to deal with injustice is to practice justice.” – Barack Obama
Kohlberg’s stages of moral reasoning propose a hierarchical progression in individuals’ reasoning and decision-making processes regarding ethical dilemmas. These stages encompass six distinct levels, each building upon the previous, and reflect an increasing level of complexity and sophistication in moral reasoning.
In Stage 1, the Obedience and Punishment Orientation, individuals focus on avoiding punishment and maintaining individual obedience to authority. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote reflects a criticism of an unjust law that obstructs social progress. By highlighting the failure of laws to establish justice, King conveys a critique of blind obedience to authority. Similarly, Thomas Jefferson’s quote suggests that an unjust law should be disobeyed, emphasizing the individual’s obligation to challenge unjust regulations.
Stage 2, the Individualism and Exchange stage, emphasizes self-interest and personal gain. Milton Friedman’s quote reflects the perspective of free-market economics, emphasizing individual cooperation and voluntary exchange to achieve collective progress. Indra Nooyi’s quote complements this standpoint by highlighting the importance of collaboration and shared goals in achieving success.
In Stage 3, the Interpersonal Relationships stage, individuals prioritize conforming to social norms and gaining approval from others. Arnold H. Glasow’s quote emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility and distributing credit appropriately, showcasing the value of maintaining positive interpersonal relationships. Michel Foucault’s quote offers a deeper analysis of power dynamics in society, suggesting that power is not inherent but rather a strategic situation shaped by social dynamics.
Stage 4, the Maintaining Social Order stage, centers on maintaining social order and adhering to existing laws and societal norms. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s quote highlights the multifaceted nature of the law, emphasizing that it encompasses a nation’s development and should not be treated simplistically. Pope Paul VI’s quote connects this stage to the broader concept of justice, emphasizing that peace can only be achieved through the pursuit of justice.
In Stage 5, the Social Contract and Individual Rights stage, individuals prioritize individual rights and the democratic process. John F. Kennedy’s quote emphasizes the interconnectedness of everyone’s rights and their vulnerability to threats. Atifete Jahjaga’s quote connects the importance of open societies, sharing information, and the rule of law with the prevention of abuse and corruption.
Stage 6, the Universal Principles stage, reflects the highest level of moral reasoning. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote suggests that injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere, emphasizing the interconnectedness of justice on a global scale. Barack Obama’s quote captures the essence of responding to injustice through practice and promoting justice as a universal principle.
In conclusion, these quotes align with Kohlberg’s stages of moral reasoning, illustrating distinct perspectives and rationales across the six stages. From obedience and punishment avoidance to universal principles, these quotes provide valuable insights into moral reasoning. Understanding these stages can help individuals develop a more nuanced understanding of ethical decision-making and the complexity of moral dilemmas.