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Moralizing or Empowering: The Hot Topic that Affects Us All

A documentary on morality and moral development

by Judith BlinCarla Green

(JHILLS @ deviantart)
(JHILLS @ deviantart)

When Lawrence Kohlberg was a psychology student at the University of Chicago in the 1950s, he came up with a theory of moral development. He theorized that our capacity to reason about moral decisions, from lying to murder, developed in stages throughout our lifetimes, and that by the time we reach adulthood, humans are capable of reasoning rationally through complex moral dilemmas.

As psychological research has progressed, academics have challenged the notion of stages of moral development. Most now think that people can vacillate between different kinds of moral reasoning. A person might be able to come to a highly nuanced conclusion about an abstract moral issue, like about a war thousands of miles away, but incapable of seeing beyond their own point of view in a conjugal spat.

This documentary examines the process by which humans reason morally, and how public education about ethics and morality could be useful to society as a whole. Do people resolve disputes better if they've learned about ethics? Can we learn to recognize unsophisticated moral reasoning in ourselves? Why are people so opposed to Quebec's Ethics and religious culture program? Listen to find out.

We'd love to hear your thoughts, questions, and moral outrage in the comment section or at

This documentary was originally aired on the Friday Morning After 7-9h on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal. Photo credit:


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