How does this theory inform our understanding of plagiarism, intentional vs. unintentional and moral development?

Keep in mind, after one has been fully informed of the different types of plagiarism is it REALLY unintentional and how does that play into moral development. Can plagiarism ever be justified? This question can be answered when viewed from the aspect of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. According to Kohlberg, moral development emerges in a three-level sequence, which is further subdivided into six stages (Feldman, 2011). Level 1 (preconventional morality) is defined as the interests being viewed in terms of rewards and punishments. Level 2 (conventional morality) shows that problems are viewed from the perspective of being good members of society. Level 3 (postconventional morality) is highlighted by those who utilize universal moral principles that are seen as broader than those of any particular society (Feldman, 2011). Plagiarism is simply copying another’s ideas and showcasing them as your own. It is theft of a literary work or source due to not properly attributing due diligence to the original author. Is it ok to steal? According to the Bible, the answer is a resounding “NO!” if you look at Exodus 20:15 (Holy Bible, KVJ). Although as fallible beings we like to make exceptions to rules, God’s Word is clear. Wrong is wrong. When it comes to stealing, literary or otherwise, that is very wrong. There are many reasons why people choose to plagiarize. Some include lack of planning, improperly citing a particular work or source, or just plain laziness. Sometimes it is unintentional (due to ignorance) and other times very intentional (due to lack of time or inability to formulate an idea). The way to combat plagiarism is to learn how to properly cite sources. Once a person understands how to cite and reference sources effectively, all excuses are non-existent. Managing time effectively and efficiently will aid in ensuring that any work submitted will be done on time and to standard. After one has been fully informed of the different types of plagiarism, I believe that any infractions on the part of the student in this regard should be taken into serious account. To plagiarize at that point, displays a blatant lack of respect not only for the author but for the culprit as well. It also undermines the credibility of that student and labels them as a “thief” and a “liar”. Proverbs 19:9 states it best: “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish (Holy Bible, KJV).”

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