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Kohlberg’s stages of moral development

In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. the drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $400 for the radium and charged $4,000 for a small dose of the drug. 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, which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying, and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said, “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from if.” So, having tried every legal means, Heinz gets desperate and considers breaking into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife.
1. Should Heinz steal the drug?
1a. Why or why not?
2. Is it actually right or wrong for him to steal the drug?
2a. Why is it right or wrong?
3. Does Heinz have a duty or obligation to steal the drug?
3a. Why or why not?
4. If Heinz doesn’t love his wife, should he steal the drug for her? Does it make a difference in what Heinz should do whether or not he loves his wife?
4a. Why or why not?
5. Suppose the person dying is not his wife but a stranger. Should Heinz steal the drug for the stranger?
5a. Why or why not?
6. Suppose it’s a pet animal he loves. should Heinz steal to save the pet animal?
6a. Why or why not?
7. Is it important for people to do everything they can to save another’s life?
7a. Why or why not?
8. It is against the law for Heinz to steal. Does that make it morally wrong?
8a. Why or why not?
9. In general, should people try to do everything they can to obey the law?
9a. Why or why not?
9b. How does this apply to what Heinz should do?
10. In thinking back over the dilemma, what would you say is the most responsible thing for Heinz to do?
10a. Why?
PRECONVENTIONAL
Stage 1: Punishment orientation. Example:”He shouldn’t steal the drug because he could get caught and sent to jail”
Stage 2: Pleasure-seeking orientation. Example:”It won’t do him any good to steal the drug because his wife will probably die before he gets out of jail”
CONVENTIONAL
Stage 3: Good boy/good girl orientation. Example:”He shouldn’t steal the drug because others will think he is a thief. His wife would not want to be saved by thievery/赃物”
Stage 4: Authority orientation. Example:”Although his wife needs the drug, he should not break the law to get it. Everyone is equal in the eye of the law, and his wife’s condition does not justify stealing”
POSTCONVENTIONAL
Stage 5:  Social-contract orientation. Example:”He should not steal the drug. The druggist’s decision is reprehensible/受谴责的, but mutual respect for the rights of others must be maintained”
Stage 6: Morality of individual principles. Example:”He should steal the drug and then inform the authorities that he has done so. He will have to face a penalty, but he will have saved a human life”
The author says, it would appear that few of these people(who achieves the postconventional stages) enter politics
Another Dilemma
Joe is a fourteen-year-old boy who wanted to go to camp very much. His father promised him he could go if he saved up the money for it himself. So Joe worked hard at his paper route and saved up the forty dollars it cost to go to camp, and a little more besides. But just before camp was going to start, his father changed his mind. Some of his friends decided to go on a special fishing trip, and Joe’s father was short of the money it would cost. So he told Joe to give him the money he had saved from the paper route. Joe didn’t want to give up going to camp, so he thinks of refusing to give his father the money.
1. Should Joe refuse to give his father the money?
1a. Why or why not?
Yes, it is his money
2. Does the father have the right to tell Joe to give him the money?
2a. Why or why not?
No, as it is not for family surviving  just for individual fun
3. Does giving the money have anything to do with being a good son?
3a. Why or why not?
It may be a traditional “good son” whose behavior is only for pleasing others
4. Is the fact that Joe earned the money himself important in this situation?
4a. Why or why not?
No, the key point is  the money is belonged to Joe not where it is from
5. The father promised Joe he could go to camp if he earned the money. Is the fact that the father promised the most important thing in the situation?
5a. Why or why not?
No, everyone is equal in the eye of God/law/whatever, even he/she is your son/daughter/employee…
6. In general, why should a promise kept?
It deploys your noble character
7. Is it important to keep a promise to someone you don’t know well and probably won’t see again?
7a. Why or why not?
If you promise, try to keep 。The reason is mentioned before
8. What do you think is the most important thing a father should be concerned about in his relationship to his son?
8a. Why is that the most important thing?
As a role model, we can make mistaking, but we should recognize, admit and correct them
9. In general, what should be the authority of a father over his son?
9a. Why?
Sometimes, for example, if son cross the line…..
10. What do you think is the most important thing a son should be concerned about in his relationship to his father?
10a. Why is that the most important thing?
It depends on lots of conditions, age, culture, personality….
11. In thinking back over the dilemma, what would you say is the most responsible thing for Joe to do in this situation?
11a. Why?
Honestly tell his father why he refused his absurd request and enjoy himself


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