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ERIC Number: ED184190
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: 0
A Kohlbergian Analysis of Selected First Amendment Supreme Court Decisions.
Lower, Frank J.; Winsor, Jerry L.
Noting that Lawrence Kohlberg has written extensively in the fields of education and psychology regarding moral development in adolescents and adults, this paper argues that Kohlberg's approach offers a viable addition to levels of understanding of rhetorical discourse. The paper first offers a discussion of the Kohlbergian theory of moral development, with brief explications of each stage of moral development. It then applies this theory to selected United States Supreme Court opinions dealing with the First Amendment to the Consitution and specifically with the issue of obscenity. The approach of the paper is premised on the observation by Kohlberg that the Consitution and the Supreme Court interpretations of it represent the "social contract" stage--a high stage of moral reasoning. The paper also presents the findings of a pilot study undertaken to test this assertion and reports that of 98 Supreme Court decisions studied, approximately 60% were at the stage Kohlberg had predicted. The paper concludes with suggestions for other areas for investigation using Kohlbergian analysis. (FL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Kohlberg (Lawrence); Supreme Court
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Speech Communication Association (Birmingham, AL, April 8-11, 1980).