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Word Count: 1,600
ETHIC OF CARE GENDER Introduction 100 words Central claim is in bold Theorists such as Piaget Kohlberg and Gilligan have proposed several theories on the course of human moral development Gilligans work in particular has received much support in defining a difference between how men and women approach moral reasoning in relation to the ethic of care Although Gilligans work has raised our consciousness regarding differences in moral thought viewing these differences as a universal gender issue alone leads to an oversimplification of what appears to be a far more complex debate Peterson 1996 Theories on moral reasoning developed by researchers such as Dewey 1895 McDougall 1908 Baldwin 1906 Mead 1934 and in particular Piaget 1932 formed the basis of Lawrence Kohlbergs original interest in moral thought as cited by White 1999 Piagets studies assessed the moral development of children He proposed moral dilemmas and then question them as to the basis of their reasoning Sternberg 1998 Kohlberg extended Piagets work by emphasising the cognitive processes that motivate moral thought Hayes 1994 p261 Where Piaget focused on children and adolescents Kohlbergs theory encompassed a lifetime perspective on the rationalisation of moral dilemmas White 1996 Kohlbergs own theory was formulated through a longitudinal study on the moral reasoning of fifty-eight American boys aged ten thirteen and sixteen The research lasted three decades and involved evaluation of a set of dilemmas where legalistic rules and humanitarian needs came into conflict The research concluded that people from all cultures progress through a hierarchal system involving six stages of lower to higher moral reasoning This incorporated three developmental moral levels each with two stages producing a progressive shift in moral maturity Kohlberg 1984 In 1982 Carol Gilligan raised the ethical debate about the differences between male and female morality when she published In a Different Voice as a major criticism of Kohlbergs work She argued Kohlbergs six stages of development have an inherent
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