A New "Stairway to Moral Heaven"? A systematic reconstruction of stages of moral thinking based on a Piagetian "logic" of cognitive development
One of the main deficiencies of the Kohlberg theory is that it has never lived up to the claim of being a structural developmental theory. First of all, it has never been shown, what specific problems arise at each stage and how these are resolved at the following one (integrating all lower stages). The present approach tries to fill this gap by starting from an elaborated developmental logic, which is then applied to the field of moral thinking. Thus, stages are (re)constructed successively out of one another. This procedure, however, yields a new taxonomy of moral stages, the "architecture" of which is expounded in some detail in the present paper. This new approach has important implications for moral education, especially as it allows for fine-tuned moral-cognitive stimulation (a feature which is discussed in comparison with received ways of fostering moral development). The article ends with a discussion of what the new "stairway" means for Kohlbergian theory.