Lawrence Kohlberg was born on October 25, 1927 in New York into a wealthy family. He studied psychology at the University of Chicago in the late 1940s and 1950s (Swan, 2010). However, before he went to college, he served in the U.S. Merchant Marine where he helped transport Jewish refugees out of Europe (Crain, 1985). Kohlberg received his doctorate in 1958 and began his career as an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University. He got married and had two children soon after (“World of Sociology” n.d., para. 2). He became interested in morality due to Jean Piget’s study of the cognitive development of children (Swan 2010; Crain, 1985). His theories were different from past theories because he didn’t assign specific age spans to each stage and he also didn’t deal with psychological or cognitive development (Swan, 2010). He conducted his research by presenting teenage boys stories about people in difficult situations (“Lawrence Kohlberg” n.d., para. 3). With this, Kohlberg came up with three stages of moral development. The first stage is Preconventional Morality which is based on the concept of punishment and reward. The second stage is Conventional where the individual understands right from wrong and vies for approval from their peers. The third stage is Post-Conventional where they have concern for others. An interesting thing about Kohlberg is the way he died. While doing cultural work in Belize, he contracted a parasitic infection (“Lawrence Kohlberg” n.d., para. 3). For over 16 years, he was in continuous pain and going through treatments that still weren’t helping. He reportedly left the hospital he was being treated at and drowned himself into the ocean.
Lawrence Kohlberg has indeed made a huge impact on sociology with his findings on moral development. With his doctorate from the University of Chicago, he’s been able to accomplish a lot on moral education, reasoning, and development.
Swanson, K. (2010, April 18). Who...