Conscience - Piaget and Fromm

  • Jean Piaget: Biologist who studies moral development of children
  • Children go through a series of mental stages. As the brain develops so does the ability to reason morally (conscience)
  • Heteronomous morality (5-10yrs) immature conscience - the consequences of an action will show if it is right or wrong - will be punished or praised
  • Autonomous morality (10+yrs) less dependent on others for moral authority - develop own rules etc. 
  • Fromm: Authoritatian conscience - similar to super ego (external authority e.g. parents, teachers, church etc. internalised) and both can stem from things like upbringing and religion. 
  • Authoritarian conscience must be obeyed because it is authority. Obedience is primary virtue. 
  • Fromm lived through the Nazi government who manipulated people into harming jews <- they are obeying Authoritarian conscience. 
  • Listening to it can cause someone to bypass normal moral sense - explains why people do bad things…


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