Moral Development and Gender Care Theories Research Paper

  • Length: 4 pages
  • Sources: 3
  • Subject: Gender and Sexuality
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #93496749

Excerpt from Research Paper :


Moral Development and Gender Care Theories

Moral Development

Moral development in humans occurs naturally together with physical, social and mental development. Individually as well as in social settings, mankind evolves a developed moral character and conscience in spite of numerous social and psychological barriers, which temporarily retard or disturb the process. In axiology, concepts of moral development give rise to feelings of being an active and developing entity. Through potential self-realization or perfection, a grand innate legacy is inherited, to be fulfilled in one's individual character and via the community, revealing one's unseen but tremendous intrinsic value (Fieser & Dowden, 2016).

Kohlberg's Six Stages of Moral Development

Crain (2015) holds that the child development scholar and moral philosopher, Lawrence Kohlberg, noted that kids progress across distinct moral development stages similar to the way they progress across cognitive development stages (defined by Piaget). Kohlberg observed and tested both adults and kids and hypothesized that mankind progresses successively from stage to stage in a never-changing sequence, without skipping stages or returning to a previous one. These represent thought processing stages, which imply qualitatively diverse ways of resolving issues and thinking at individual stages.

Level 1: Pre-Conventional Morality

First Stage: Obedience and Punishment Orientation -- Children believe elders in charge pass down a predetermined, rigid collection of rules that are to be unquestioningly obeyed. This stage focuses on punishment avoidance and respect for those in positions of power. In the given case, Sophie decides upon complaining to her dad when her brother behaves wrongly, as she believes morality is something elders say must be followed (Crain, 2015).

Second Stage: Individualism and Exchange -- Children who reach this stage understand that more than one correct view exists, and different people have different standpoints based on different self-interests. In the given case, Sophie mulls over complaining to her dad. However, the consequence of her choice might be a cancellation of their Friday-night Mcdonalds dinner. She has to choose what's morally right: between telling on her brother (and risking a cancellation of dinner), or remaining silent (which means her brother would not have to answer for his misconduct) (Crain, 2015).

Level II: Conventional Morality

Third Stage: Good Interpersonal Relationships - This stage, often attained at early adolescence, has children viewing morality as not mere simple deals. Stage-3 individuals believe they must behave well, and meet community and family expectations. Good behavior implies good interpersonal feelings (e.g., concern, faith in others, love and compassion) and motives. Sophie ultimately decides on complaining to her dad as it was morally right (Crain, 2015).

Forth Stage: Maintaining Social Order - Respondents at this stage are concerned about and involved with the overall society. The focus is abiding by the law, carrying out one's social duty, and respecting authority. Sophie made the moral choice from an overall social standpoint, based on her father's authority (Crain, 2015).

Level III: Post-conventional Morality

Fifth Stage: Social Contract and Individual Rights -- Individuals at Stage 5 essentially consider good society a societal contract people voluntarily enter into, to profit all. They realize that diverse social groups possess diverse values, but believe every sensible individual would accept and want fundamental rights to protection and democratic mechanisms to improve society and amend unfair laws. Clearly, Sophie behaves out of reciprocal obligation as well as her sense of social good. She opted for the correct course of action, defined based on broad individual rights as well as critically-analyzed and extensively-accepted standards (Crain, 2015).

Sixth Stage: Universal Principles -- Persons at Stage 6 uphold universal principles centered on every living entity's value and equality. No individual is a means to attain some end, but is an end in him/herself. Rights aren't just individual liberties, but considering everyone's dignity under all circumstances; everyone's interests are equally important. Clearly, Sophie values moral principles above all and decides to inform her dad of her brother's bad behavior (Crain, 2015).

Gender Care Theory

Gender Stereotype

A gender stereotype denotes generalized societal notions of male and female characteristics and attributes. Normally, males are considered independent, assertive, risk-taking, and strong-minded (agentic traits) while females are believed to be gentle, sympathetic, meek and relational (communal traits). Beliefs and expectations related to male and female qualities have frequently determined 'appropriate' jobs and other facets of their lives (Sikdar & Mitra, 2008).

Carol Gilligan's Care Perspective

According to Dowden and Fieser (2016), the care ethics theory suggests moral import in the…

Sources Used in Document:


Crain, W. C. (2015). KOHLBERG'S STAGES OF MORAL DEVELOPMENT. Theories of Development, 118-136. Retrieved from

Fieser, J., & Dowden, B. (2016). Care Ethics. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy:

Fieser, J., & Dowden, B. (2016). Moral Development. Retrieved October 19, 2016, from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Hetherington, M. E., & Parke, R. D. (2003). Gender Roles and Gender Differences. In M. E. Parke, Child Psychology: A Contemporary Viewpoint. New York: Mcgraw-Hill Global Education.

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