A person named Heinz is seeing his wife die from a special type of cancer. Doctors advice that only one drug can an save her. The druggist was charging him ten times extra i.e $4000 for the drug. After borrowing money from family and friends, he could only raise half the money i.e. $1000. The druggist was not ready to sell it cheaper, as he wanted to make money from it. Being anxious, he broke into the laboratory to steal the drug for his wife.
To analyze this situation, Kohlberg 's model for Moral Development was used. Lawrence Kohlberg, indicates that the highest stage of moral development “comes when life decisions and actions are rooted in an autonomous, principled judgment of right and wrong, in full consciousness of responsibility to the larger social community”, (Cooper, 1982: p133). Kohlberg suggested a model that looked primarily to the cognitive growth of the individual as a means of understanding the ways people think about moral dilemmas (Cooper, 1982: p139).
There are six stages of Kohlberg, being distributed in three levels. Let’s discuss each level according to Heinz Dilemma.
1) Kohlberg’s Level One: Preconventional Morality
a) Stage 1: Obedience and punishment orientation
In this stage of moral development , the emphasis is on the self interest and people usually think what will happen to them if they do something. Consequences of the action plays a major role in defining the moral code in this stage. Avoidance of punishment is regarded as good behavior. In case of Heinz dilemma following scenario can be made.
Heinz should not steal the drug since he would be breaking the law.
Heinz should not steal , because his wife does not like him becoming a thief because of her.
Heinz should not s...
... middle of paper ...
...ome more effort to collect the money like he can sell his property or can take a loan from the bank and also he should have gone for second opinion from some other doctor to find an alternative solution. Secondly he would have approach the government personnel’s in healthcare sector to help him either by donation or by getting him the drug .
There is no doubt that Stealing is an punishable offence under law, but in circumstance like this persons life’s has top priority as compared to law, as we saw in this case that Heinz tried a lot to collect money for the drug but he couldn’t and stealing was last option he was left with. So I think that Heinz should not be punished if he got caught, and exception should be made for cases like these as the intensions were good and saving human life has a bigger moral obligation than saving property.
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