Level 3. Postconventional Morality

Stage 5: Social Contract and Individual Rights

When people reach stage 5, they still are viewing morality in society. However, in this stage people look at the complexities of what makes a good society. People look at society in terms of what necessarily works, doesn’t mean it is good for society. People in this stage are able to use more complex reasoning skills that make decisions about what is considered “good” and “bad” for our society.

Stage 6: Universal Principles

Where at stage 5 people are working at the conception of what makes a good society, stage 6 defines the principles at which people achieve justice. This is the final stage of moral development in Kohlbergs Morality Theory. When people reach this stage they have a well-rounded view on society where a persons justice guides them to an equal respect for all people. Civil-obedience is the main separating factor between stage 5 and 6.


Kohlberg, L., Mayer, R., Development as the aim of education, Harvard Educational Review, Vol 42(4), 1972, 449-496.


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