The Levels Of Cognitive Moral Development Sample Essay


Cognitive moral development is fundamental to human growth, encompassing the acquisition and refinement of ethical beliefs and values. It is a crucial framework for understanding how people explore moral problems and make ethical judgments. At the center of this improvement is the course of moral thinking, which includes assessing good and bad and the support of one’s choices (Tadjuddina et al., 2019). Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development provides a comprehensive understanding of the different levels individuals progress through as they mature cognitively and morally. The theory has three distinct levels: conventional, post-conventional, and pre-conventional morality. Each level comprises stages that address changing moral thinking refinement and intricacy levels.

Kohlberg’s Levels of Moral Development

Lawrence Kohlberg proposed a comprehensive theory of moral development that outlines six distinct stages grouped into three levels. These stages represent different levels of moral reasoning and reflect individuals’ progression as they mature cognitively and morally (Pajuelo et al., 2021).

Level 1: Pre-conventional morality

At this stage, individuals’ moral reasoning primarily focuses on self-interest and external consequences rather than internalized ethical principles. Obedience and Punishment Orientation is the first stage of level I. In this stage, individuals make moral judgments based on the fear of punishment or the desire to avoid negative consequences. They view rules as absolute and obedience as necessary for personal safety and security. For example, a child might refrain from stealing a toy because they fear their parents’ punishment. Individualism and Exchange is the second stage of level I. At stage 2, individuals recognize that different people have different perspectives, and their moral decisions are guided by self-interest and the expectation of reciprocity (Pajuelo et al., 2021). They view moral actions as instrumental in serving their personal needs. For instance, a person might engage in helpful behavior to gain future favors from others.

Level 2: Conventional Morality

Conventional morality is characterized by moral reasoning based on social norms and societal expectations. Stage 3 of level II is Interpersonal Relationships and Conformity. At this stage, individuals seek to please others and gain their approval. Moral judgments are based on maintaining positive relationships and conforming to social norms. Decisions are often guided by empathy and the desire to be seen as good (Pajuelo et al., 2021). Maintaining Social Order is the fourth stage. In this stage, individuals value the maintenance of social order and respect for authority. Moral reasoning is focused on upholding rules, laws, and social institutions to benefit society.

Level 3: Post-conventional Morality

Post-conventional morality involves higher moral reasoning that transcends societal norms and focuses on ethical principles. Social Contract and Individual Rights is the fifth stage. At this stage, individuals recognize the importance of a social contract and uphold individual rights. Moral decisions are guided by the belief that rules and laws should be mutually agreed upon and serve the community’s best interests (Pajuelo et al., 2021). Universal Principles are the sixth stage. In the final stage of moral development, individuals base their moral judgments on abstract, universally applicable ethical principles. They prioritize justice, equality, and respect for human dignity over societal norms or laws (Pajuelo et al., 2021).

Reasoning Process in Ethical Decision-Making

The reasoning process is fundamental to ethical decision-making, shaping how individuals evaluate moral dilemmas and justify their choices. It involves a series of interconnected steps that contribute to forming ethical judgments (Small & Lew, 2021). Moral awareness is at the core of the reasoning process, which entails recognizing the presence of a moral issue or dilemma. This involves an individual’s ability to identify a particular situation’s potential consequences and ethical implications. With this awareness, individuals may recognize the ethical dimension of their decisions.

Once individuals become aware of the moral dimension, they engage in the critical task of gathering information. This step involves seeking relevant facts, considering different perspectives, and examining the potential impacts on various stakeholders. A comprehensive understanding of the situation is essential to make informed ethical judgments. Following the information-gathering stage, individuals embark on the process of moral reasoning. Moral reasoning refers to the cognitive process of evaluating available options and making ethical judgments (Small & Lew, 2021). It involves applying moral principles, values, and ethical frameworks. Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development highlights the progressive nature of moral reasoning, with individuals moving from self-interest to societal norms and eventually to abstract ethical principles (Small & Lew, 2021).

A crucial aspect of the reasoning process is considering the consequences of one’s actions. Ethical decision-making requires individuals to assess the potential outcomes and impacts on themselves and others (Small & Lew, 2021). This involves weighing the benefits and harms associated with each option and considering the overall well-being and fairness of the outcome. Individuals must navigate the complexities of balancing conflicting interests and determining the most ethical action.


In conclusion, the reasoning process is a vital aspect of ethical decision-making. It encompasses moral awareness, information gathering, moral reasoning, considering consequences, reflective deliberation, and justification. Individuals can navigate complex moral dilemmas and make informed and ethically sound choices by understanding and engaging in this process.


Tadjuddina, N., Elfiahb, R., Meriyatic, M., Suardi, I., & Wekked, A. S. (2019). The interaction of children’s early moral development process through a holistic approach. Interaction8(9).

Pajuelo, M. D. S., Mejía, L. R. J. B., Bardalez, F. D. J. S., Marqués, K. F. C., & Maceda, M. C. P. (2021). Level of moral development in students at the Law School of San Ignacio de Loyola University (Lima-Peru) in the face of political corruption 2021. Economic Research Guardian11(2), 270-283.

Small, C., & Lew, C. (2021). Mindfulness, moral reasoning and responsibility: Towards virtue in ethical decision-making. Journal of Business Ethicspp. 169, 103–117.

The Optimistic And Pessimistic Perspective Of Elective Intimacy University Essay Example


The term ‘intimate relationship’ is broad and fluid with different meanings attached to it, and it could be connections between friends, families, and sexual partners. Different forms of intimacy, such as elective intimacy, have been researched as forms of intimate labor, including personal care, physical closeness, and intimate knowledge. Elective intimacy is often mediated because it requires a medium through which intimate relationships are created by disclosing information between the primary subject and others. Elective intimacy is possible through social media platforms and dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Tagged. These platforms are primarily responsible for networking with people from different regions together. The primary focus of this essay is to discuss the optimistic and pessimistic perspectives associated with elective intimacy in the digital era.

Optimistic Perspective of Elective Intimacy

Online dating applications like Tinder and Tagged have significantly changed how people date in terms of communication and behaviors. Dating apps have become familiar in contemporary society, and one can meet their life partner with a swipe of a finger. For example, Tinder has become popular in India, rapidly experiencing massive growth and becoming the most relevant and essential online platform for forming new connections. According to research statistics, online dating on platforms like Tinder precedes marriages in most developed nations, and online relationships are becoming more valuable, especially among millennials. Online dating platforms are broad and entail more than dating; they are powerful tools that allow people to meet and connect with others, increase their social groups, and learn from one another regardless of geographical distance. On dating platforms, individuals engage in direct conversations with randomly matched people, which is a sensible choice instead of picking someone based on what they have written in their biography. Most men on Tinder take it as a dating app and establish weaker connections, whereas women perceive it as a socializing app and create stronger bonds and connections (Hobbs et al., 2017). The decision to socialize and avoid creating weaker ties depends on the use of photos making it more competitive for users, especially those on Tinder. Genuine connections have been formed from the app depending on an individual’s motive and intentions (Urrutia & Tello-Navarro, 2021). It is the most reliable and critical platform that enhances elective intimacy for its users in modern society. However, the app has advantages and disadvantages for users regarding the type of intimacy they seek on the platform.

The presented case scenario involving Tinder, one of the most successful online dating applications, shows the level of autonomy it gives to its users. People using the app have the opportunity to choose from a variety of potential life partners. Another level of freedom presented by the app is that it does not limit individuals to merely romantic connections; from its description, Tinder is more than a dating app because, from it, people can form friendships based on their intentions, which helps expand their social circle. Individuals have the chance to associate themselves with like-minded persons, and they can learn from one another (Urrutia & Tello-Navarro, 2021). Tinder has significantly facilitated elective intimacy among young people looking to create genuine and authentic relationships or friendships. The level of autonomy on Tinder allows people to be selective by participating in conversations with their counterparts or matches and choosing partners they can resonate with without fear of being judged or misinterpreted.

Elective intimacy can be evaluated from the optimistic and the pessimistic perspectives. From an optimistic point of view, elective intimacy makes relationships more intense and democratic since a specific autonomy drives such intimacies. The emotional intimacy experience plays a significant role in maintaining sexual desire and collaborative sexual activities in long-term romantic relationships (Hobbs et al., 2017). When people have increased and diverse intimacy choices, it results in the development of authentic and genuine connections. For instance, online dating platforms, in the case of Tinder, provide individuals with various choices (Hobbs et al., 2017). Through this dating site, one meets thousands of potential life partners, which is helpful, especially for individuals that are always busy with work and have no social life. Another essential aspect of elective intimacy is the increased chances of meeting like-minded individuals. When on dating apps, people can list their preferences and be specific with their intentions which helps save time if they do not meet the required standards (Hobbs et al., 2017). The abundance of choices enables people to meet their perfect matches based on attitude, values, and interests. This abundance creates relationships built and nurtured through mutual compatibility and authentic connections. Elective intimacy motivates individuals to explore their needs and desires and make informed and intentional relationship decisions.

Intimacy is the core of a good and healthy relationship because it facilitates the growth and well-being of both parties involved. Intimate interactions involve being vulnerable to each other, and it requires one to be nonjudgmental and open-minded to accept the strengths and weaknesses of the other wholly. Elective intimacy, in this case, is vital because one gets to know more about the other person and decide whether they can be vulnerable and trust them without fear of being judged or overlooked because of their weaknesses. Intimacy must be beneficial in that it contributes to the well-being of each other; therefore, the need to be selective when choosing a partner on digital dating platforms (Hobbs et al., 2017). The fact that intimacy is essential and beneficial to human beings shows how challenging it could be to meet the person of your dreams. Dating platforms have made elective intimacy easier because people have the right to decline a relationship that is not genuine and authentic before investing too much.

Elective intimacy is optimistic because of the increased number of options to select from promoting gender equality. Elective intimacy is closely associated with ‘liquid love’ because it has transformed the romance and dating scene into a form of entertainment that allows individuals to continually return to look for other options if they feel unsatisfied with their choices (Urrutia & Tello-Navarro, 2021). Traditional gender roles have, in the long run, been subjective, especially toward women, because they were not allowed a decision regarding choosing a partner. Unequal societal norms have always dictated women’s lives and relationships. The introduction of online dating as an aspect of elective intimacy has allowed people, women in particular, to explore different relationships and friendships based on mutual connections willingly (Hobbs et al., 2017). Technological innovations have enabled women to establish relationships based on their sexual and emotional equality with other individuals as long as they feel mutually satisfied. Elective intimacy has changed democratic decision-making relationships and friendships, advocating gender equality and defying traditional norms. This type of intimacy has allowed men and women to explore different sexual orientations without being judged. The practice of intimacy has become more individualistic because the individual self is at the core of the interaction.

Personal growth is also an optimistic perspective of elective intimacy, which is realized through the freedom of exploring different forms of connection. The primary objective of having an intimate relationship or connection with someone else is because they make one a better person or version of themselves. Growth in any relationship is necessary, which can only be achieved between people with similar experiences, values, and interests (Bosch, 2011). Intimate interactions are determined mainly by the involved individuals’ behavior, emotions, and thoughts while interacting. Elective intimacy motivates individuals to become more open with their partners because it is the only way the relationship can work for the involved parties. People, especially if someone has trust issues, grow to trust the other with their most vulnerable issues. They get to discover themselves and develop their self-identity through the other person. Many women on Tinder are often looking for genuine friendships and self-validation, and to be presentable, they tend to interfere with their profile’s self-representation, which is more performative in finding genuine connections. Generally, elective intimacy opens up a whole new dynamic of self-awareness.

Pessimistic Perspective of Elective Intimacy

Sexual desires are among the most primal human desires, which have become more prevalent with the introduction of online dating applications. Most people on Tinder, especially males, view it as an app for finding casual sex hookups without the intent of a committed relationship. It is impossible to comprehend this culture without associating it with a sexual script that involves two strangers willing to have platonic sex. Sexual experiences are often short-term with no repetitive patterns, and most users on Tinder and other dating apps are accustomed to this norm. The hookup culture has resulted in privatization since many encounters and meetups happen in private places. Heterosexual Tinder users are often presented with a different background norm than the standard expectations. Modern hetero-normativity expects sexual encounters to happen in relationships, making casual sex escapades responsible for possible transgression against such expectations. The significant emphasis on faster sexual gratification without emotional commitment leads to a norm of shallow and false connections due to fear of emotional vulnerability and investment (Attwood et al., 2017). This shows how willingly people, especially on dating apps, are quicker to engage in emotionless hookups instead of nurturing serious relationships with each other. Elective intimacy has allowed individuals to avoid creating meaningful connections because they are presented with options. The disposable aspect of such relationships results in a lack of desire to invest emotionally and develop meaningful connections, confirming that modern relationships are meaningless and easy to replace.

One pessimistic aspect of elective intimacy is that it massively contributes to a negative culture of disposable and fear of commitment and emotional investment relationships. According to Bauman and Beck, elective intimacy generates the fear of commitment in individuals, specifically in a society full of better options. The hookup culture has made it difficult to determine the level of genuineness of an individual, resulting in a lack of emotional investment. Many people in serious relationships would fall out instead of working through their relationships (Bosch, 2011). The idea of relationships from the elective intimacy perspective has become null and irrelevant because of the significant prevalence of the hookup culture. Elective intimacy is also responsible for the growth and development of self-commodification, where people perceive their friendships and relationships as marketable goods that can be quickly replaced. Relationships are viewed as building and maintaining an individual’s image and reputation instead of being loved and respected, as expected in authentic connections.

Elective intimacy has led to increased self-centredness and Narcissism between people in relationships and those searching for genuine connections. Most people get into relationships for specific purposes, often self-centered and manipulative for personal gain. When people focus more on this perspective, and it becomes their motive in relationships, they overlook the needs and desires of the other party because they are only around to please themselves (Attwood et al., 2017). Selfishness and egocentrism cannot align and make the relationship successful because one party will feel neglected and disrespected. As much as elective intimacy provides a specific level of autonomy, it results in narcissistic behavior and self-centeredness if not well navigated. Many people become obsessed with maintaining a specific image to be loved or liked at the expense of their partners or friends. Impression management is essential in this discussion because it describes individuals’ significant efforts to control people’s opinions toward them. They are more concerned with maintaining a fake online image than establishing authentic connections. Elective intimacy is also motivated by the aspect of imagined audiences, which means that people have this opinion that they are constantly being watched and judged hence the need for validation from unknown individuals. This notion results in self-doubt and consciousness with the constant need to impress and seem perfect to people that are hardly watching.

Reflection and Conclusion

Considering the optimistic and pessimistic perspectives regarding elective intimacy, concluding that they all present valid and essential arguments is essential. The optimistic side presents the possibility for increased intensity and autonomous relationships; the pessimistic side contradicts it based on the narcissistic features associated with modern relationships. The influence of elective intimacy is different depending on an individual’s experiences, personal values and needs, and cultural context. It is critical to be open-minded and acknowledges that most relationships will not fit the pessimist or optimist perspective because of the diverse dynamics of intimacy. Generally, while the opinions regarding elective intimacy provide relevant and essential insight, it is vital to understand the complexity of relationships and acknowledge that they cannot be established through elective intimacy being democratic or narcissistic. The genuine concern is the different individual experiences and values that shape and determine each relationship.


Attwood, F., Hakim, J., & Winch, A. (2017). Mediated intimacies: bodies, technologies, and relationships. Journal of Gender Studies26(3), 249–253.

Bosch, T. (2011). Young women and ‘technologies of the self’: Social networking and sexualities. Agenda (Durban)25(4), 75–86.

Hobbs, M., Owen, S., & Gerber, L. (2017). Liquid love? Dating apps, sex, relationships, and the digital transformation of intimacy. Journal of Sociology53(2), 271–284.

Urrutia, V. G., & Tello-Navarro, F. (2021). Gender, love and the Internet: romantic online interactions in Chilean young people. Journal of Youth Studies24(6), 731–745.

The Prominence Of Ritual In Expressing The Character Of The Islamic Religion Essay Sample For College

Religion is a complex concept encompassing various elements which shape its character and practices (George, 2011). Among the four key elements of religion, material religion/architecture, dogma/doctrine, ritual, and society, one element stands out as particularly prominent in expressing the character of the Islamic religion: ritual. This essay explores why ritual is central to Islamic practices, highlighting its significance and the reasons behind its prominence. By delving into the foundational principles of Islam and the diverse rituals that define the faith, we can better understand the critical role rituals play in shaping the Islamic religious experience.

Islamic worship is mainly characterized by its ritualistic nature, with rituals as the cornerstone of religious observance. The five pillars of Islam, namely, Shahada (faith), Salah (prayer), Zakat (charity), Sawm (fasting), and Hajj (pilgrimage), provide a comprehensive framework for Muslim religious practices (Denny, 2015). Among these pillars, the regular performance of Salah, or ritual prayer, occupies a central position. Five times a day, Muslims engage in ritualistic prayer involving specific movements, recitations from the Quran, and adherence to prescribed formats. This regular practice emphasizes the significance of ritual in expressing one’s devotion to Allah and fostering a deeper spiritual connection.

Rituals in Islam not only serve as acts of worship but also act as vehicles for spiritual transformation. Through the disciplined practice of rituals, Muslims seek to cultivate personal growth, develop self-discipline, and strengthen their faith. According to Nasr and Leaman (2013), the repetition of ritualistic actions, such as ablution (Wudu) before prayer, the recitation of specific verses, and the physical postures during Salah, allows individuals to engage their bodies, minds, and souls in a holistic religious experience. This immersive engagement helps believers focus their attention, discipline their desires, and develop a heightened awareness of the divine presence.

Islam places significant emphasis on communal religious practices, emphasizing the importance of fostering unity and solidarity among its followers (George, 2011). To achieve this sense of continuity, Muslims highly regard their rituals, which are crucial in promoting a collective identity and sense of belonging within the community. The congregational prayer (Jumu’ah), performed every Friday, brings Muslims together in mosques, reinforcing a sense of unity and shared purpose. The collective recitation of the Quran during Ramadan’s nightly Taraweeh prayers further strengthens communal bonds and creates an atmosphere of devotion and togetherness (Denny, 2015). By engaging in these communal rituals, Muslims find solace in the company of fellow believers and strengthen their connection to the broader Muslim community.

Rituals in Islam are rich in symbolism, carrying deep spiritual meanings and teachings. Each ritual holds symbolic significance, from physical actions to recitations and the use of sacred objects (Renima et al., 2016). For example, during the Hajj pilgrimage, Muslims worldwide come together in a unifying symbol of unity by performing circumambulations around the Kaaba regardless of their social status or nationality. Additionally, fasting during Ramadan presents more profound implications beyond self-restraint, with some even interpreting it as an endpoint for spiritual purification and empathizing with those less fortunate. The symbolic power of these rituals allows Muslims to internalize their faith, reinforce moral values, and express their devotion to Allah through physical and symbolic acts (George, 2011).

In conclusion, while all four elements contribute to the Islamic religion’s character, the element of ritual prominently expresses the essence of Islam. Rituals serve as acts of worship and facilitate spiritual growth, foster communal bonds, and embody profound symbolic meanings. Muslims directly link with the divine and reaffirm their religious identity through rituals such as prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage. Embracing the ritualistic nature of their faith affords Muslims solace and unity and guides them toward spiritual fulfillment by internalizing Islam’s fundamental values. Varied aspects of Islamic culture follow these values in everyday life. Thus, the prominence of ritual in Islam underscores its vital role in expressing the character and essence of the Islamic religion.


Denny, F. (2015). An introduction to Islam. Routledge.

George, K. M. (2011). Picturing Islam: Art and ethics in a Muslim lifeworld. John Wiley & Sons.

Nasr, S. H., & Leaman, O. (2013). History of Islamic philosophy. Routledge.

Renima, A., Tiliouine, H., & Estes, R. J. (2016). The Islamic golden age: A story of the triumph of the Islamic Civilization. The state of social progress of Islamic societies: Social, economic, political, and ideological challenges, 25-52.