Moral justification of acts judged to be morally right and acts judged to be morally wrong

Mordecai Nisan, Asher Koriat

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In Kohlberg's approach the person's stage of moral development is inferred from the quality of the justifications offered for a moral choice regardless of which course of action is judged as the morally correct. This may imply that moral choice is independent of level of moral reasoning. The study under report suggests otherwise. When subjects offered justifications for alternative courses of action in a moral dilemma, these justifications were of a higher level of moral reasoning when the act was in accord with the subject's own choice than when it was not. This was obtained despite the fact that moral choice and moral reasoning appeared to be independent across individuals. This finding suggests that although moral choices may not evidence a developmental ordering similar to that found for moral reasoning, these choices are probably ranked for each individual in terms of the level of moral reasoning that can be marshalled in their support, and this ordering affects moral decision. 1989 The British Psychological Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-225
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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