Friday, 4 December 2015

Moral exercise (Third part finished, fouth part to come)


Last Wednesday 4th of December we worked in class the case of "Do the Opposite". I would have wanted to include in that class an introduction to Moral Development based in the work of Lawrence Kholberg.

I know that most of you will be familiar with this theory. If I don't remember badly you use to cover this topic in Philosophy.

If that's the case the following task will be easier to be done. We will be able to check it.

At least we can work here what we had no time to include in the class.

First you can review the theory about Moral Development in these slides.

Desarrollo moral 15 16 from Alejandro Iborra Cuéllar

I am want to use this theory that is a good extension of Piaget's cognitive development applied this time to a new developmental domain: morality.

However the most importat thing to me is to use these new ideas in order to better understand its implications but also in order to better understand ourselves.

So I am going to provide a brief moral situation. As you probably know Moral Development use vignettes in order to evoke moral issues. In the literature these vignettes are called "moral dilemmas".

So first consider the next dilemma and please if you want write a comment below stating what would the middle sister do and why? Even better what would you do in that situation and why?

Depending on your comments and answers I will provide the next step tomorrow.

Here is the situation (extracted from Kegan, 1977, p13):

"The mother of a teenager girl (Judy) had promised her she could go to a special rock concert if she earned the money herself.  She saved up the cost of the ticket -five dollars, plus another three by babysitting. But then the mother changed her mind and told Judy  she had to spend the money on new clothes for school. Judy was dissapointed and decided to go to the concert and tell her mother she had only saved three dollars. That Saturday she went to the performance and told her mother that she was spending the day with a friend. A week passed without her mother finding out. Judy then told her oldest sister that she had gone to the concert and lied to the their mother about it. The older sister wonders whether to tell their mother what Judy did. Should she?"

Kegan, R. G. (1979). The evolving self: A process conception for ego psychology. The Counseling Psychologist.

For classes in spanish I translated it. So you can also read it in spanish if you want:

“La madre de María le prometió que podría ir a un concierto de música, siempre y cuando reuniera ella misma el dinero que costaba. María consiguió lo que costaba la entrada (10 euros más 5 euros que consiguió cuidando niños).En el último momento la madre cambió de opinión y le dijo a María que tenía que gastar el dinero en comprar ropa para ir al colegio. María estaba muy disgustada y decidió ir al concierto y decirle a su madre que sólo tenía cinco euros. Así que llegó el sábado y le dijo a su madre que pasaría el día en casa de una amiga. Una semana después, María se lo contó todo a su hermana mayor: que había ido al concierto y que le había mentido a su madre además respecto el dinero que tenía. La hermana se pregunta si debería contárselo a su madre o no. ¿Qué tendría que hacer?”

After a couple of days we can move on (I write this on 7th of December of 2015).

If you thought about the previous dilemma you should have some kind of justification about what would you do in that situation or what should the older sister do. I have not received comments so far but fortunately I have some examples from last year, this year (GA) and even an example shared by Kegan in his book The Evolving Self.

Please the nest step for you is to compare your own answers with the next ones in terms of how similar and different they are. Please remember that in terms of moral development what is at stake is what kind of justification you are using instead of what would you do or not. In other words the key is how you justify and explain you decision not what you decide. I emphasize this because it is a common mistake students use to make: attending to the content ( the concrete action) instead of the justification (why you behave like that). It is this justification what we will analize later in terms of Kohlberg theory.

So let's begin with our examples: 

Example 1. (thanks to a student of G.A of this year)

"La hermana mayor debe contarlo por razones muy importantes:

- 1. A Es importante que María sepa que no se tolera la mentira. Deben inculcar en ella que mentir está mal y que no debe volver a hacerlo. Si miente una vez y la hermana lo permite, nunca más sabrá cuándo la hermana pequeña le miente y cuando no, ya que no le han hecho ver que no es bueno mentir". 

- 1. B Es crucial hacer ver a María que existen prioridades. Si la madre de María le había dicho que necesitaba ese dinero para ropa, María debía entender que eso es más importante que ir a un concierto. La hermana de María debe intentar concienciar a María de que hay que ser responsable incluso con las decisiones sobre el dinero. 

- 1. C Por evitar una bronca por parte de mis padres, ya que si se enteran de que yo lo sabía y no se lo he contado, se podrían sentir decepcionados, porque contaban con mi confianza por ser hermana mayor. Como hermana mayor debe sentirse responsable y contarlo por la educación de su hermana pequeña. 

Example 2. (from students of GB of last course 2014-2015)

"La hermana no tiene que contar nada, si alguien lo contara tendría que ser ella misma, porque:

  • 2. A porque si no perdería la confianza en su hermana
  • 2. B porque no hay que chivarse
  • 2. C la madre la ha engañado, se lo merece
  • 2. D por empatía, "hoy por ti y mañana por mi". "

Example 3. Transcription of an interview with an adolescent who had discipline problems with adults (Kegan, 1982, pos. 1609-1644) You can read here the interview translated. 

"Should the older sister tell their mother that Judy lied about the money or should she keep quiet?

If she did, she would be a rat. Because it was important to the kid, the kid wanted to go and she had saved up for it, and she still had three dollars left over. The sister should not have said anything, because she knew she would get her sister in trouble. That's a kid's point of view.

What's the other point of view?

She shouldn't have lied. Her mother said it was for clothes. It did take a long time for her to save the money up?

Pretty long. 

She still had three dollars left over, I don't know. I don't know. 

What is the problem here, what do you see as a conflict?

Between adult and kid, the girl wanted it, she saved up for a long time. Of course it was a dissapointment to her. But it wastn't exactly fair in her mother's rights. She wasn't exactly understanding to say no after the girl had saved up for a long time. I think that the mother should have made some kind of compromise.

You are taking both points of view, the mother's and the kid's.

Yes. This is too close to home, that is why I am having problems with it, it really is. 

What would be the best reason for the older sister to keep her mouth shut?

Because the younger sister will probably rat-fink on her sometime. She would experience something worse. If she had told her mom, it would not have been right from a sister, sibling position; you don't tell on me. You tell on me, I tell on you. That's the way it is between kids. Plus I think there would be a lot of problems in that family and they would be better left alone; no one was hurt. She got away with it. Besides, there would be just as many problems if she didn't go because she and her mother would bee bitching at each other for who knows how long. If she was saving up for a long time. It was a goal and her mother shot it for her. Still it wasn't like five dollars was all she had, she had eight dollars, and she had three dollars left over; I am sure if she did as much babysitting as she did before, she could get more money. I am sure she could suffice without clothes - of course she has clothes, but not new clothes- a little while. You could kill two birds with one stone; if you could get away with it, go ahead.

Would it be right so?

No, I don't think so. It would be wrong for her to tell. 

How come?

There would be too many hassles, there would be a lot of fighting. There really would. 

How about the older sister; she has a relationship with her younger sister and you said she wants to keep a trust going, but she also has a relationship with her mother and if she tells on her sister, she breaks the sister bond. If she doesn't tell on her sister she is in a dishonest relation with her mother. 

In a way, if she does suffer guilt feelings. I wouldn't suffer guilt feelings. I couldn't

You don't think it would be violating your trust with your mother?

Sure, because it is just your concern that the mother does know about it, the mother probably wouldn't find out. If she did -she wouldn't come to it- it wouldn't be as fresh, it would be an old issue and time would have kind of erased it from my mind, the circumstances. 

Was it right for Judy to do it?

Yah, in the sense that she has worked for it. No, in the sense that she is going to always worry, what if her mommy finds out. She would have to worry about that, won't enjoy it as much. 

What makes the thing wrong?

It is hard, because there are reasons for both. You can make something right if you want to make it right. If you want it to be wrong, you can make something wrong. 

What is the wrong reason, how is it wrong?

Because she didn't have her mother's permission to go. She misused the money in her mother's eyes, but not in her eyes. 

How about in your eyes?

I would have gone because it is something I worked for. It was important for me. "

Now you can compare your own reasons and justifications with these three examples. Are your closer to any of them?

And in addition to this you can begin to use Moral Development Theory in these three examples. Could you apply that theory for each example and its different parts? Could you locate the examples in terms of Moral Development stages? And even better, could you locate your own justifications if you gave them in terms of this moral development theory?

More tomorrow....

I continue with the third part of this task about moral development.

Let's connect theory with our examples. This is what you would have been disscusing during the class. If you thought about it before this point of the post, at least we can discuss it not. What I am going to add now is just my opinion with my arguments to support my thought. It is not the truth. So discussion is welcome if you disagree. It is easier to discuss about other's answer. It is more difficult when it is your own answer the one that is directly involved. So if you compare your answers the better.

Let's begin with Example 1.

"La hermana mayor debe contarlo por razones muy importantes: (the important information comes now, as I said it does not matter what does the sister but why does it). 

- 1. A Es importante que María sepa que no se tolera la mentira. Deben inculcar en ella que mentir está mal y que no debe volver a hacerlo. Si miente una vez y la hermana lo permite, nunca más sabrá cuándo la hermana pequeña le miente y cuando no, ya que no le han hecho ver que no es bueno mentir".  This is an example for me of conventional level. In my opinion it is an example of Third Level or Stage 3. "To lie is wrong" seems a good example of "rule" for me. It is a general rule that goes beyond my personal interest in the situation. My behaviour is based on this rule which generates actually the background of a good and trustworth relationship. 

- 1. B Es crucial hacer ver a María que existen prioridades. Si la madre de María le había dicho que necesitaba ese dinero para ropa, María debía entender que eso es más importante que ir a un concierto. La hermana de María debe intentar concienciar a María de que hay que ser responsable incluso con las decisiones sobre el dinero. Here once again this is an example of Stage 3. But now it is focused on the mother's perspective. The new rule now is about responsibility and even how there are priorities in terms of change in the context. What we need can change in terms of contextual change. Our needs are not absolute but relative to something. That's why we can prioritise. Please notice how responsibility is important in order to create relationships and goes beyond one's personal interest. 

- 1. C Por evitar una bronca por parte de mis padres, ya que si se enteran de que yo lo sabía y no se lo he contado, se podrían sentir decepcionados, porque contaban con mi confianza por ser hermana mayor. Como hermana mayor debe sentirse responsable y contarlo por la educación de su hermana pequeña. At first sight we could think that this justification gets back to a Stage 2 if the person wants to avoid to be punished. But a the rest of the justification clearly emphasizes issues related to the creation of a relationship: dissapointment (going against other's expectation), trust and responsibility. The author of the justification pays attention to the character of the older sister and highlights relationship issues. I mean how to protect or create a relationship based on mutual trust. One's behaviour depends thus on this more general rule: respecting the relationship with others. Please notice how this justification coordinates the relationship with both mother and younger sister. Me, my younger sister and my mother are all related or we should be related at least. 

In conclusion for this example the person who wrote it was at least in a Third Stage according to the quality of his or her explanations. In terms of Kegan's theory it would be a good example of third order of consciousness or also called socialized mind. 

Let's go now with Example 2 which provides an interesting contrast. 

Think now a little about it comparing it with the previous one:

"La hermana no tiene que contar nada, si alguien lo contara tendría que ser ella misma, porque:

  • 2. A porque si no perdería la confianza en su hermana
  • 2. B porque no hay que chivarse
  • 2. C la madre la ha engañado, se lo merece
  • 2. D por empatía, "hoy por ti y mañana por mi". "

The arguments of this group show more variation compared with the previous example. On one hand we have arguments A and B which are examples for me of Stage 3, a conventional order so to speak. Once again it is mentioned the importance of trust. Trust involves a relationship. I trust you because you trust me. Trust involves for me some kind of reciprocity. In this sense it goes beyond mere individual interests. Once again trust is related with this social mind termed by Kegan. And trust in this case is related to a rule: I trust you because you are not going to betray me. You can't betray those who trust you. There's then a rule to follow connected to the creation of relationship which goes beyond my own interest to keep something bigger than me: the relationship. The rule is not yet too abstract as a law (this would entail being in Stage 4). 

However in this group we can also consider examples C and D which emphasize two different sides, two different agendas more sequential in terms of cause-effect, instead of the creation of a more abstract structure such as the relationship. Example D is clear: "I'll scratch your back and you'll scratch mine". Now it is my turn and then it will be yours. My interest and then your interest. It is not stressing our interest, or our common interest based in our relationship. There's no confidence, no mutual interest. In this sense it is a good example of Stage 2. The third sentence is similar (ex. C). The mother deserves to be fooled because she betrayed the youngest daughter in the first place. Here it seems an example of effect to a cause. You betray me then I cheat you. Once again there is no mutuality. The reciprocity here is not based in what we expect of each other in terms of our relationship but in a balance between our own interests. It is a moral based in our instrumentality. So it sounds as a revenge. 

In conclusion with this second example, it is for me a transtional case between stages 2 and 3. Maybe there were components of the group in stage 2 and other components in stage 3. Maybe the answer shows this transition with a mixture of arguments meaning how there is not yet a stable position in terms of moral judgement. 

And now finally let's discuss the third example. After reading about these two previous examples maybe it is easier for you to evaluate the girl of the interview in terms of moral development. Can you?

Try to elaborate your own evaluation of that case and then, only then, compare it with the conclusions provided by Robert Kegan regarding this example. Read it carefully. Here you have a spanish translation.

"From the very start of the interview we see that Terry herself frames the dilemma in terms of what the kid wants versus what the adult wants. This is a construction mindful that different parties have different needs or wants, but it is not a construction integrative of these different wants. She does not orient to a relationship -to the nature of a promise, for example, or to the cost of sustaining a shared relationship when one partner acts like the mother is acting, or to the impact of the mother's or the daughter's violation on the bond between the two people. Might this truncated orientation arise because the shared context does not yet quite exist for Terry; because the intercourse between people is no so much a context in itself as an avenue for expedient exchange? The older sister should not tell on Judy "because the younger sister will probably rat-fink on her sometime". Terry demonstrates no spontaneous sense that the older sister may be in a conflict of her own interpersonal obligations to her sister and those to her mother, the sort of conflict that is bound to raise grave problems for the interpersonal balance. When a question is put on just this subject, Terry answers that the older sister would only be in such a bind "if she suffers guilt feelings". In this fascinating section of the interview we begin to see what "guilt" is like when viewed from the outside. Guilt is apparently something that some people -it is clear to her perceptive observation- do suffer from, but  she has no personal experience of it. She would not suffer guilt feelings, she says; "I couldn't". What she would have instead is a "worry" as to whether her mother would find out, and so long as she didn't find out things wold either be okay, or continously worrisome. Was it right for Judy to go to the concert? "Yah in the sense that she has worked for it. No, in the sense that she is going to always worry, what if her mommy finds out". Notice here how both notions of being right and wrong stem from the same context - what would or would not be of benefit to one party (herself). Guilt has to do with having a problem simply because the lie exists and one is implicated thereby; the mother in such a case is part of the interior life. Worry has to do with potential consequences of the lie's being discovered; here the mother is outside. Though persons at stage 2 will sometimes use the word "guilt" to refer to their own experience, when we look into what they mean it turns out they are talking about an anxious anticipation of what the other will do. Similarly, their favorite guilt-free expression, "What they don't know won't hurt me". (Kegan, 1982, pos. 1643-1668)


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  2. Tras leer tanto la teoría como los distintos ejemplos, he pensado cada uno de ellos y estoy de acuerdo en las conclusiones sobre los estadios en los que se encontraría, aunque quizás me surge alguna pequeña duda.

    Por otra parte, en mi caso, estoy de acuerdo con la respuesta del primer ejemplo pues es mejor que se lo cuente ya que es necesario inculcarle unos valores y enseñarle lo que está bien y lo que no, además de que generalmente, una mentira (u ocultar información en este caso) te genera más problemas y una mayor decepción que contar la verdad desde un primer momento.Es necesario enseñarla que todo tiene su momento y que hay cosas más importantes.

    En cambio, en los otros dos ejemplos se nota como la persona tiene en cuenta únicamente sus propios intereses y las consecuencias de sus hechos en el caso de descubrirse, sin importarles los demás. (En la mitad del Ejemplo 2 y el 3). Mientras que en las dos primeras frases del ejemplo 2, tiene en cuenta las "reglas". En este caso, aunque es una buena respuesta, yo creo que si careciese de esa importancia y no se viera implicada la madre (o mejor dicho, la relación hermana mayor-madre), la hermana mayor la hubiese guardado el secreto y no se habría chivado, por lo tanto, tiene que ver con la importancia del asunto.

    En mi opinión, en función del estadio de desarrollo moral en el que te encuentres, tu opinión o tu forma de pensar va a ser una u otra y según vayas avanzando, esta puede ir cambiando. Cada persona contestará lo que ellos creen que es lo correcto, y esto va ligado al estadio en el que se encuentren.

    1. Hola Silvia

      Gracias por leer y comentar.

      Ante todo ten en cuenta que lo principal no es qué se decide hacer, sino por qué se decide hacer eso. La clave en el análisis está en la justificación que se da, qué tipo de justificación es, no en la acción que se lleve a cabo y si estamos o no de acuerdo con dicha acción.

      La justificación (el porqué hago algo) tiene que ver con evitar un castigo o buscar una recompensa, seguir mis necesidades y/o o lo que quiero, seguir una norma, una ley o norma más general, seguir un principio individual de conducta aplicable a diferentes situaciones y contextos (por ejemplo ser honesto, ser consecuente con las decisiones tomadas, etc...).

      Esa es la clave. Es fácil atender sólo al contenido y juzgar en función de si me gusta o estoy de acuerdo con dicho contenido (decirlo o no decirlo, pensar que si es grave o no es grave y actuar en consecuencia, etc...).

      El tema es saber qué se hizo o qué harías y por qué. Y en ese porqué está la clave.

      Y más allá de situar a las personas en un estadio X, quiero que veáis los matices que implica estar en un estadio o en otro. Y que veáis que todos al hacer este ejercicio, hablamos de nosotros mismos, de nuestro estadio moral, no de los personajes del dilema.

      Cuando yo aporto mi justificación, me estoy retratando a mi mismo.

      Por eso es curioso comprobar cómo la mayoría de los estudiantes que resuelven o tratan de resolver este dilema suelen situarse en un nivel convencional, entre 3 y 4. Aunque también hay casos de estar en un nivel 2.

      Digo esto basándome en la información que tengo de otros cursos. De vosotros no tengo información.

      Espero que quede más claro.

      Falta una parte final donde integrar y hacernos una serie de preguntas.