Plagiarism and Moral Development

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Plagiarism and Moral Development
Moral Development is a theory defined by Lawrence Kohlberg in our text. “Kohlberg contends that people pass through a series of stages as their sense of justice evolves and in the kind of reasoning they use to make moral judgments.” (Feldman, pg. 320) These stages are sequenced into levels: “Level 1- Preconventional morality- at this level, the concrete interests of the individual are considered in terms of rewards and punishments. Level 2-Conventional morality- At this level, people approach moral problems as members of society. They are interested in pleasing others by acting as good members of society. Level 3- Postconventional morality- At this level people use moral principles that are seen as broader than those of any particular society. So now how can we apply Kohlberg’s levels of Moral Development to the issue of Plagiarism? First lets take a closer look at Plagiarism: “According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means •to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own •to use (another's production) without crediting the source •to commit literary theft

to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source. In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.” Accessed September 4, 2011. Students will plagiarize sometimes out of a sheer lack of knowledge about how to properly cite their sources, but most of the time plagiarism is intentional. In fact “plagiarizing papers can be something of a thrill in itself” to many students. Accessed September 4, 2011. I feel that most students view their education as a means to an end seeing it as just a stepping stone to get them to where they want to be....
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