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            Moral development of individuals contributes to an organized society. It is important for every individual to have moral development in order for them to have a better grasp of themselves and a tranquil conscious. This paper will discuss two theories on moral development: Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan.  Both theorists explain the development of morals throughout life. Kohlberg’s research consists of male participants, while Gilligan’s response to this is specifically focusing on the moral development of women.  

                        Lawrence Kohlberg’s: Theory of Moral Development

Kohlberg’s theory of moral development is a continuation to the research that Piaget started.  Kohlberg’s inspiration towards Piaget motivated him to further expand on Piaget’s work by going past the early ages in childhood that Piaget has studied. Kohlberg also felt that the moral maturation and moral development was much more gradual than Piaget.  Similar to Piaget, Kohlberg believed that changes were due to cognitive ability rather than changes of the self.  Kohlberg’s study consisted of him interviewing children and adolescents and presented them with a hypothetical dilemma.  He then asked the participants to describe what the protagonist “should” or “would” do (Kohlberg, 1993). These interviews would later allow him to formulate his theory of moral development.

Kohlberg’s theory consists of three levels that are divided into six stages.  In level 1: the pre-conventional or pre-moral level, assumes moral dilemmas are based on external standa