Reconceptualizing Moral Judgment Within A Reflectivity Framework (pp. 95-119)
Authors: Wong, Wan-chi and Wong, Ka-ming (Chinese University of Hong Kong) Chak, Amy (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
Abstract: The present study attempts to reconceptualize Kohlberg’s moral theory within a reflectivity framework. In Phase One of the study, a theoretical framework of moral judgment comprising three levels and seven stages was proposed, which is essentially a synthesis of Kohlberg’s theory of morality and King and Kitchener’s Reflective Judgment Model. The empirical investigation in Phase Two was implemented to serve two purposes: (1) to refine the proposed theoretical framework using empirical data, and (2) to examine the hypothesis regarding the inconsistency of stage/level attainment of reflective moral judgment across different domains. A contextualized instrument, the Reflective Moral Judgment Interview (RMJI), designed specifically for the empirical inquiry, is composed of four moral issues belonging to the judicial, historical, educational and personal domains respectively. Participants in the interview were Chinese undergraduates and postgraduates of the Faculty of Education at a university in Hong Kong (N=39). The results helped refine the content and the structure of the proposed framework in several important respects. The hypothesis concerning inconsistency of reflective moral judgment across domains was confirmed. Participants in the study scored highest on the judicial and historical issues, intermediate on the educational issue, and lowest on the personal issue. The mediating factor of self-relevancy and self-involvement in different contexts is interpreted as crucial to the level of reflectivity in moral judgment. Recommendations are made for further research in the light of the perspectives opened up by the present study, and taking account of its limitations.