Pre-conventional morality is the first level of Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of moral development in which people first comprehend fixed rules as behavioral guidelines and then grow to understand that everyone has a unique position in choosing to obey or not obey them. Pre-conventional morality, or the first level of morality, is subdivided into two stages. There are two other levels of the morality theory respectively called conventional and post-conventional morality.
Kohlberg's theory of conventional morality is a response to moral dilemmas in which there is not always a clear right or wrong. Kohlberg argued that if the reasoning behind an action, regardless of whether the action itself is considered morally right, is sound, then the morals behind it are sound. A common story that Kohlberg used to illustrate his ideals was that of a man whose wife was dying of cancer. The man could not afford a medicine that could potentially cure her. When the creator of the drug refused to bargain for a lower price so that the woman could be saved, the man stole the drug in order to save his wife. Clearly, stealing is wrong. But Kohlberg argued that, in the case of the man and his wife, it was not morally wrong because the man's motivation for stealing was to save his wife.