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Question: Development of morality in the individual!.!.!.!?
Lawrence Kohlberg suggested in his theory of moral development that morality of a typical healthy individual develops with age and experience ( much like Piaget's ideas of cognitive development)!.
he suggested that there were six (and possibly 7) stages of development of a person's ability to assess moral dilemas!.
if this is so, and i believe he's accurate, then does it follow that those who discuss moral philosophy (ethics) should, necessarily, be fully developed cognitively to be considered "learned" regarding Ethics!?Www@QuestionHome@Com

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker:
Assuming that he is right, you wouldn't be able to fully grasp it until you had reached stage six (possibly 7)!. Anyone, especially with authority, would need to meet that criteria to be considered 'learned', or even morally responsible!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Aristotle would disagree, since he thinks that moral development involves the formation of habits, which are not acquired by speculating about dilemmas, but, rather, by habitually doing certain acts!. Dilemmas tend to paralyse us, whereas habits are acquired by the repetitive performance of acts, which, initially are difficult and perhaps even downright uncomfortable to do --- such as telling the truth when the consequences may not be pleasant, for being habitually honest!.

Take professors who have affairs with students!. When your tenure, house, mortgage, and marriage are all "on the line", it is a lot easier to lie than to lose everything, including one's tenure, for being forthrightly honest about an affair with a student, no matter how many philosophical paradoxes or moral dilemmas one is cognitively capable of discussing with one's students in "philosophy class"!.


Kevin!.!.!. oft repeated choices that are similar when faced with similar dilemeas would still require a cognitive process, as opposed to a Pavlovian type choice, and would, necessarily require a cognitive process to determine which choices are right!. in fact, your Aristotalean thingie may, in fact, support my supposition!.

It may, in so far as what Aristotle called deliberative reason (thinking about choices) or rationative desire (same thing), following from Aristotle's 1st principle of Ethics which was truth in accordance with right desire!.

I don't think anyone would admit that either John Stuart Mill or Immanuel Kant were cases of people with underdeveloped cognitive development/s!. But neither man seemed to be aware of Aristotle's moral 1st principle, while modern "ethics professors" actually have their students try to deal with and reconcile their pair of clearly contrary theories of Ethics --- Mill's "Utilitarianism" and Kant's "Deontological" theory of Ethics!.

According to Mill the motive has nothing to do with the morality of the act, which was a very odd thesis coming from a "philosophical radical" interested in penal and legal reforms, where, in law, the motive has everything to do with the legality of an act and much to do with mitigating circumstances concerning sentencing!.

According to Kant, the motive has everything to do with the morality of the act [following universal law without regard to the consequences] and the consequences [contrary to J!.S!. Mill's Utilitarianism where the consequences have everything to do with an act's morality] have nothing to do with the morality of an act!.

Then you can choose Hume's "kindlier sentiments" as the source for moral acts!. But where were such "kindlier sentiments" in post Kantian Germany!? Allies had to bomb and shell those guys almost back into the stone ages, twice, in the last century, to try and teach them that there are very bad consequences for their aggressively immoral acts!.

Aristotle didn't think that moral habit formation is anything like Pavlovian training or "drooling at the sound of a bell"!. And he also thought that old people are, in general, cowardly sorts of people --- because they have everything to lose and nothing to gain by being actually ethical, if they have not learned ethical habits when young!.

Anyone might be as cognitively gifted as either Mill or Kant!. But they still can't base their own "cognitive ethics" on entirely contrary principles and theories!. In fact teaching contrary theories of Ethics absolutely ensures both so-called "moral dilemmas" and actual "moral paralysis" among younger students of contrary ethical theories!.


Bubbi G and Happy Hiram have hit the nail on the head!.
Mere discussion of moral philosophy and ethics is not sufficient to qualify one!. Small children make moral decisions - and sometimes reach the wrong conclusion, when they decide they can "get away with something!."
Moreover, I think this position puts the onus on our understanding of a "typical healthy individual!." How do we decide what constitutes a "typical healthy individual" and without that decision, how do we rule out their input to ethical decisions!? Surely we can't!? Surely that therefore means Kohlberg's arguments could support Hitler's contributions, since he waxed at length (and in error) on matters philosophical!?Www@QuestionHome@Com

I don't think so, I mean, anyone could discuss moral philosophy but not everyone who discusses it is genuinely intrigued by said point!. also, you are always learning, even once you have reached a point of age and decay!. This is one of the beautiful things of life, but also one of the freaking annoying aspects as well!. haha, but realy, since we can never be fully learned, as long as we keep an open mind, even down to when we take the dirt nap we can be further enlightened!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

I disagree with your conditions!. So I say no!. But if your conditions were not incorrect you would have come to a logical conclusion with your idea that someone would pass your "litmus test" to offer ethical advice!.

But at whatever stage you want to call it, people have a conscience and very few people heed their conscience, so most moral advice is suspect except my own!.Www@QuestionHome@Com