Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

On Morality, continued

It is my belief that everyone can be trusted to do what they consider to be the right thing to do according to their own level of development of moral reasoning, and I will illustrate with some research that I was involved in during the twenty years that I spent in prison B well, in the prison system.

Kohlberg’s ideas about the development of moral reasoning are fairly well known and, when I was working in the prison system, I thought that it would be useful to have a measure of moral development for use with our inmates.  So we began to write items to represent each of these six ways of judging between right and wrong, for each of a number of situations in which a moral judgement was called for.  It turned out that, when we administered that questionnaire to both inmates and staff, none of the staff scored below Stage 4 (Law and Order morality, in which action is motivated by loyalty to authority and anticipation of honour or dishonour) and none of the inmates scored above Stage 3 (Good-Boy/Good-Girl morality, in which action is motivated by the desire for approval and the avoidance of disapproval).  There was no overlap at all!  If you were to ask one of these inmates why they should or shouldn’t do some particular crime, they might tell you that it is against the law; but if you then ask why it is wrong to break the law, the answer would be concerned with how it would affect them, not how it will affect others. 

What I want to emphasize in this is that all behaviour is driven by what the individual believes is the right thing to do at that moment in time.  People always do what is right, as they see it.

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