Kohlberg's heinz case & stages

Дата канвертавання21.04.2016
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Lawrence Kohlberg (1927 1987) was a well known theorist in the field of moral development. He posed a series of moral dilemmas (e.g., Heinz Dilemma) to his subjects and then asked questions to probe their reasons for recommending a specific course of action. From a large set of responses, he developed a model of moral development, with six stages, analogous to the affective development stages of Erikson and the cognitive development stages of Piaget, extended by Gowan.

Scenario 1

A woman was near death from a unique kind of cancer. There is a new drug that might save her with a single dose, available only from the doctor/scientist who developed it. The drug costs $4,000 per dose, although it only costs the scientist $100 to make it. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money and tried every legal means, but he could only get together about $2,000. He asked the doctor/scientist who discovered the drug for a discount or to let him pay later, but the doctor/scientist refused.

* Should Heinz break into the laboratory to steal the drug for his wife? Why or why not?
Scenario 2

Heinz broke into the laboratory and stole the drug. The next day, the newspapers reported the break in and theft. Brown, a police officer and a friend of Heinz, remembered seeing Heinz near the laboratory last evening, behaving suspiciously. Later that night, he had seen Heinz running away from the laboratory.

* Should Brown report what he saw? Why or why not?
Scenario 3

Officer Brown reported what he saw. Heinz was arrested and brought to court. Heinz was found guilty and could be sentenced to as much as two years in prison.

* Should the judge sentence Heinz to prison? Why or why not?
Heinz's Reasoning: Should I Steal the Drug?

Moral Stage

Argument For

Argument Against

Stage 1: Orientation to punishment

It isn't wrong to take the drug. It is really worth only $100, and I probably won't get caught anyway.

It is wrong to take the drug. After all, it is worth $4,000. Besides, I would probably get caught and be punished.

Stage 2: Orientation to benefits and exchange

If I don't want to lose my wife, I should take the drug. It is the only thing that will work.

I should not risk myself for my wife. If she dies, I can marry somebody else. It would be wrong for me to give up my well-being for her well-being.

Stage 3: Orientation to social approval

I have no choice. Stealing the drug is the only thing for a good husband to do. What would my family and friends say if I didn't try to save my wife?

I must not steal the drug. People won't blame me for not stealing the drug; stealing it is not the kind of thing people would approve of.

Stage 4: Orientation to law and order

When I got married, I vowed to protect my wife. I must steal the drug to live up to that promise. If husbands do not protect their wives, the family structure will disintegrate, and with it, our society.

Stealing is illegal. I have to obey the law, no matter what the circumstances. Imagine what society would be like if everybody broke the law.

Stage 5: Orientation to rights of others plus social rights and responsibilities

I should steal the drug. The law is unjust because it does not protect my wife's right to life. Therefore, I have no obligation to obey the law. I should steal the drug.

As a member of society, I have an obligation to respect the druggist's right to property. Therefore it would be wrong for me to steal the drug.

Stage 6: Orientation to universal ethical principles

The principle of the sanctity of life demands that I steal the drug, no matter what the consequences.

The principle of justice and the greatest good for the greatest number prevents me from stealing the drug, even for the good of my wife.

Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment (e.g., I won't hit him because he may hit me back.)
Stage 2: Individual Instrumental Purpose and Exchange (I will help her so she will help me in exchange.)

Stage 3: "Good Boy/girl" (I will go along with you because I want you to like me.)
Stage 4: Law and Order (I will follow the rule/order because it is wrong not to.)


Stage 5: Valuing Rights of Others plus Social Rights and Responsibilities (Although I disagree with his views, I support his right to have them.)
Stage 6: Individual Principles of Conscience Grounded in Universal Ethical Principles (There is no external force that can compel me to do an act that I consider morally wrong.)

The following historical examples show individuals operating at different levels of morality:

* Nazi death camps. In April 1961, Adolf Eichmann, accused executioner of 5 million Jews in Nazi Germany during World War II, testified at his trial in Jerusalem:

In actual fact, I was merely a little cog in the machinery that carried out the directives of the German Reich. It was really none of my business. Yet what is there to "admit"? I carried out my orders.

Level II, stage 4 moral reasoning is reflected in Eichmann's statement.
* Civil disobedience. In March 1922, Mohandas Gandhi, the Indian spiritual and political leader, addressed a British court with these words:

Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed. But I had to make a choice. I had to either submit to a system that I considered had done irreparable harm to my country, or incur the risk . . . I am here, therefore, to invite and cheerfully submit to the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is a deliberate crime and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen.

Level III, stage 6 morality is seen in the life and teaching of Gandhi.
* With similar moral reasoning, Socrates refused to admit social wrong in his farewell address to the Athenian people. Instead, he drank the lethal hemlock, setting an example of moral heroism that has inspired Western civilization for over 2,000 years.

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