ERIC Number: ED228121
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Feb
Reference Count: 0
The Aging Person as Philosopher: Moral Development in the Adult Years.
Kohlberg, Lawrence; Shulik, Richard
Using four case studies, the paper explores whether the philosophical reflections on the meaning of life by older adults constitute a developmental stage as defined by Piaget. Prefacing his analysis with discussions of the Erikson model of ego stages and the Fowler "Faith Interview" methods, Kohlberg hypothesizes hierarchical levels that occur in adulthood. Next, the author draws upon 1979 case studies of faith systems in 40 older adults which determined their feelings about the future; meaning of life; ethical standards; communal identification; intimacy and sexuality; transcendental beauty, evil, and suffering; and death and dying. In his analysis of four of the case studies, Kohlberg theorizes that after attainment of Stage 5 post-conventional morality, two paths of further development are possible. One leads to Stage 6 morality of rational justice; the other to an exemplary ethic of agape (putting the other before the self). This stage, however, cannot be defined by the hypothetical moral dilemmas used to measure preceding stages. The author concludes that the stages do not illustrate strict Piagetian stage-sequential development and that development of advanced stages of faith may depend more upon life crises than on experiences of social and moral conflict. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory; Fowler (James); Piagetian Stages
Note: Some pages may be marginally legible due to variations of ink density.