Hienz Dilemma Essay examples

Submitted By studentforlife1972
Words: 1377
Pages: 6

Rebecca Walkden
Philosophy 101-34
Professor Gillen
November 15, 2013

In order for a society to function well, there are a set of laws to be followed. The ideas for these laws are based on the moral principles of it's citizens. Society is deeply influenced by morality. For example, if a citizen is checking purchases for payment at a local merchant, and the merchant unknowingly gives the customer more change than is due, in keeping with morality the customer will alert the merchant. However, if the customer chooses not to alert the merchant and takes the money, does the offense rise to the level of stealing? Some would say no, because the person didn't intend to steal, or it may be that the customer needed the money badly. Others would say it was dishonest, but rarely would a situation like this end in any action being taken. There would be some that would deem this stealing, especially the merchant. This is just one of many minor moral decisions we encounter in our daily lives, but what about the big ones? Does a person's moral compass alter when it comes to life changing personal decisions? Lawrence Kohlberg, an American psychologist, was interested in finding the answer to this question. He designed a hypothetical situation called “Heinz Dilemma” in which a choice is presented between the rights of one person and another deserving individual. He was not concerned with the answers given but in the reasoning behind the answer. In an article written by Saul McLeod, published 2011 in Simply Psychology, he outlined Kolhberg's Theory of Moral Development, a theory of the moral changes a person goes through as they mature. The Stages of Moral Development consist of three levels, each containing two stages. The first stage in level one, pre-conventional morality, is “obedience and punishment orientation”(p2). In this stage the individual is good in order to avoid being punished. If a person is punished they must have done wrong. Stage two, “individualism and exchange,”(p2) is when an individual recognizes that there is more than one right view, and different individuals have different viewpoints. Level two, conventional morality, contains the stages of “good interpersonal relationships and maintaining social order”(p2). In the former the individual is good in order to be seen as being good by others. Answers are related to the approval of others. In the latter the individual becomes aware of the wider rules of society, so judgments concern following the rules in order to uphold the law and avoid guilt. The final level is called post-conventional morality. In the stage of “social contract and individual rights,”(p2) the individual realizes that while rules and laws exist for the greater good, there are times when they work against particular individuals. Answers are not always clear cut. The final stage is “universal principles.(p2).” The individual at this stage has developed their own set of moral guidelines which may or may not fit the law. They believe principles of human rights, justice, and equality apply to everyone, and they are prepared to defend these principles even if it means going against the rest of society. Kolhberg believed few people reached this stage. Heinz dilemma is the story of a desperate man trying to save his wife who is dying of cancer. The only option he has is a drug that has just been discovered by a local chemist. It was expensive for the chemist to make this drug, the final cost being $200. He was selling the drug for $2,000, ten times the principle investment. This was much more than the man could afford. After going to friends and family, he raised $1,000. He explained to the chemist that his wife was dying and asked if he could have the drug at a reduced cost or pay the rest late. The chemist refused saying that he had discovered the drug and was going to make a profit on it. The husband was desperate to save his wife, so later that night he…