Moral Reasoning

Just for fun, I’d like you to read this moral dilemma and comment with your thoughts. We’re not going to judge each other’s responses, but I’m very interested to see what everyone comes up with. We went over this in class, but because it’s such a tough question, the professor decided not to allow lengthy discussion. Anyway, here it is. :)

“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 $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him tosell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from it.” So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug-for his wife. Should the husband have done that?” (Kohlberg, 1963).

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About Emilie Wolf

Emilie earned her Bachelors of Science in Mathematics at the University of Houston-Victoria. She loves traveling with her husband, serving super smoothies, asking people deep questions, and making art. View her web design projects and artwork at ArtistForLeisure.com
  • https://plus.google.com/103612871313139094390 Drew Nicholson

    Yes. The immorality of theft is far overwhelmed by both the morality of trying to save his wife, and the immorality of the price hike without exception.

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    What is the reasoning behind your conclusion, +Drew Nicholson? Is it a personal reason drawn from experience? Universal reasons? How do you weigh the options?

  • https://plus.google.com/103612871313139094390 Drew Nicholson

    I weigh harm and good done.

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    I see. Thank you, Drew. Very insightful. I'll add my own response after a few more…

  • https://plus.google.com/103251633033550231172 Matthew Graybosch

    I don't buy the notion that the end justifies the means, so I think that the only way I can justify Heinz stealing the medicine is if he presents himself to the authorities and stands trial for his crimes once his wife has taken the medicine and been cured. Heinz's wife has a right to live, but the druggist also has a right to his property, and to be paid for his work.

  • https://plus.google.com/112340525248964260515 Andrew James Hein I

    I completely agree with +Matthew Graybosch . I would most definitely steal a drug that would save my wife. I'd also take the rap for it later.

  • https://plus.google.com/115607115047101130036 Raymond Ho

    NO – of course not, it's silly to contemplat that we make our own moral laws up as we see fit against the defined laws of the community …. extend it further… I now think the druggist is immoralist pig so we shall kill him for that … If you are in doubt refer to the Bible or any religious text ..it clearly explains it

  • https://plus.google.com/103251633033550231172 Matthew Graybosch

    +Andrew James Hein I, this is only a dilemma if you assume that one person's rights outweigh another, and that some rights trump others.

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    Very interesting point there, +Matthew Graybosch. Not only do we consider the rights to life and property, but even the justice system must be upheld.

    Matthew, might you say that it is better to ask for forgiveness later than to ask for permission?

    Do 2 wrongs make a right or do they only cancel each other and cause a commotion in court later?

    :)

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    Would we have to know more about the situation to reason? What kind of relationship do the husband and wife have? Is the wife insistent that her husband steal, or would she rather know her husband remains honest? Does that even factor in?

  • https://plus.google.com/103251633033550231172 Matthew Graybosch

    +Raymond Ho, the people who wrote the books comprising the Bible did indeed make their own moral laws. We all do. Sometimes our moral reasoning is compatible with the laws and customs of the society in which we live. And sometimes we must choose our own path, and pay whatever price is demanded of us. Jesus of Nazareth is said to have done as much, and died screaming on a Roman cross for it.

  • https://plus.google.com/115607115047101130036 Raymond Ho

    Did you read the start of this post +Matthew Graybosch we are not to judge each other's response? … this is how conflict start people who are biased to their own agenda .i completely understand your comments

  • https://plus.google.com/103251633033550231172 Matthew Graybosch

    +Emilie Eggleston it's not so much about asking forgiveness rather than permission. Instead, it's about balancing the rights and interests of everybody involved. Heinz's wife has a right to live. Heinz has a right to not see his wife die for a druggist's stubbornness. The druggist has a right to his property, and to be paid for his work. And the rest of the people in that village have a right to know that their society isn't going to descend into chaos without warning.

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    Personally, I would reason that it was not okay for the husband to steal. The husband may feel helpless, but it is an unfortunate circumstance that neither he nor his wife can do anything about at this point. If the druggist had not discovered this medicine, the husband and wife would only accept their fate quicker. Either that or the husband continues to exhaust his energy to find another cure. In my mind, stealing is always wrong, no matter what. The druggist is not wrong for protecting his discovery, but he definitely seems to be without compassion.

  • https://plus.google.com/106495672613183710380 Erik Kim

    Since this is a moral question, the answer is simple. Breaking and entering is an immoral act. Stealing is an immoral act. Therefore from a moral context, Heinz should not have done what he did. No exception.

    “So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug-for his wife.”

    There is no act of desperation when one is acting morally. There is however may be an act of desperation when acting nobly. Don't confuse the two which I'm thinking some already have.

  • https://plus.google.com/115607115047101130036 Raymond Ho

    That's well said +Emilie Eggleston you explain it very well

  • https://plus.google.com/116609851909363745047 Mitch Wright

    I would say this: in a sense of the greater law, the man obviously shouldn't break it; obviously stealing is wrong. But from a sense of personal responsibility, I would say that a man that truly loves his wife would be willing to sacrifice everything to save her if it were in his power. If he succeeded in saving her but was caught, I'm fairly certain he would have little regret were it to come to the noose. On the other hand, if he didn't attempt it and she died, he would spend the rest of his life anguishing over whether he made the right choice. I suppose it comes down to perspective.

  • https://plus.google.com/116609851909363745047 Mitch Wright

    Just read your last post, +Emilie Eggleston, well put :-)

  • https://plus.google.com/103251633033550231172 Matthew Graybosch

    Personally, if I was in Heinz' position, I would steal without a second thought or a moment's remorse. I chose my wife above the rest of the human race. What sort of husband would I be if I were to let her die for the sake of some obdurate pharmacist?

  • https://plus.google.com/116609851909363745047 Mitch Wright

    +Matthew Graybosch Agreed ;-)

  • https://plus.google.com/116674493483634194038 Keith Heard

    I think it's worth considering something: do the things we "should" do have to be moral?

    He should do it for the same reasons we do anything in life: way the known risks vs the known rewards. The reward in this case is assumed, but the story says "thought might" not "knew would."

    The risk we can assume is being captured and incarcerated, as well as the potential for being captured before the medication could be given to his wife, gaining nothing and still going to jail.

    Weigh all your options, do what comes out best. I don't know that morality will be the key factor.

  • https://plus.google.com/116674493483634194038 Keith Heard

    "way the risks"?? Oh why can't I edit that from my phone…

  • https://plus.google.com/116609851909363745047 Mitch Wright

    +Keith Heard laughs Well said response, and yeah, I wish we could edit via mobile :-)

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    Good point, +Keith Heard. We really don't know what kind of moral reasoning the husband had. His internal moral compass may have told him stealing is wrong, but the circumstance and his emotions pushed him beyond both internal and external consequences.

    There is no answer… only further questions…

    Even now I wonder what kind of society and government was in place during this dilemma. Would an anarchy society have made a difference versus a republic, democratic, or a socialistic state? …

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    Oh, and thank you everyone for taking part in this discussion! You have all piqued my curiosity deeper!

  • https://plus.google.com/115607115047101130036 Raymond Ho

    Now it's finished +Emilie Eggleston please ask your professor are terrorists justified in their means of killing people? Nice topic by the way

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    The fun doesn't stop with you, does it, Raymond? ;)

    In my opinion, murder killing is only acceptable as an immediate defense to a physical threat. Planning to kill another because of a perceived threat is wrong.

    It gets tricky as this relates to powerful leaders that have missiles and bombs. Should we go after them just because they claim they're going to hurt us? I say no. Be ready to fight once they make the first move, but hold your ground on principle until that time. Lives may be lost, but I stand by principle.

    Such is my biblical reassurance that those not living by principle are living a personal hell and will suffer in the end. Those who die by principle die a noble death… to be remembered for their righteousness and strength.

  • https://plus.google.com/100348890596894378276 Conor Jacobs

    For neutrality's sake I won't read any response until after I post.

    You have actually posed two questions here. In your post you appear to be asking if what Heinz did was moral, and in your quote the question is whether or not Heinz "should have done that." I'll give my opinion in two parts below, followed by a relative analysis.

    Was what Heinz did moral? No. Morality is most easily defined as behavior that is good for the community, even if it's bad for the individual. In this case the morality has to side with incentivizing medical advancement, which in the community described seems to be wholly done by allowing inventors to set the market price for their inventions. The druggist (presumably) took a serious financial risk by creating his own drug, and he did so under the assumption that he would see reward in the sales of that drug, He also made the reasonable assumption that the police his taxes helped fund would prevent his place of business from being burglarized, robbing him of his reward. By breaking into his place of business Heinz has disabused him of those assumptions, lowering the chances that the druggist will continue to contribute to the cause of scientific advancement and possibly costing more people their lives in the future.

    Should Heinz have done that? Of course. The consequences of his burglary will likely not be lethal, and he would probably sacrifice his own life in the defense of his wife's. We have the price he's willing to pay, we know the maximum price he will pay, and the odds of him having to pay the price at all is less than 100%. Looks like Heinz is getting off cheaply

    I would posit that both parties behaved immorally, but they did so because they live in a community that was designed in an immoral way. The fact that the incentive to produce a resource that could save lives by it's very nature excludes people from acquisition of that resource is either immoral or poorly considered.

  • https://plus.google.com/115607115047101130036 Raymond Ho

    Thanks +Emilie Eggleston I'm always impressed with what you post.
    Yes I do have fun ( sometimes at other people's expense) Good Answer not quite what I expected but none the less I can agree with it.
    Cheers!

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    Great analysis, +Conor Jacobs! You bring to light the possibility that the situation was immoral to begin with and that the husband was practically destined to continue the immorality. Right away, I ask myself, how do you fix the system to center around life, and not monetary gain?

  • https://plus.google.com/109504760279039722641 Brooke Johnson

    Actually, I see the pharmacist as being guilty of both theft and attempted murder. By vastly overcharging people for the medication he has discovered he is essentially committing theft. Secondly by denying this medication to Heinz, even though he was willing to pay half up front to cure his wife of cancer, he would allow a woman to die because he might risk not making a few extra dollars. Therefore the theft of Heinz is completely justified. He exhausted any other means of allowing his wife to survive. Life in my opinion is more valuable then property.

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    I can totally respect that view, +Brooke Johnson. On that same note, should Heinz have sought to retrieve the medicine by other means? If the druggist is obviously exploiting helpless patients, shouldn't the authorities have helped Heinz rather than Heinz breaking and entering? Is Heinz wrong then for acting hastily? :)

  • https://plus.google.com/100348890596894378276 Conor Jacobs

    +Emilie Eggleston That's the question, isn't it? I can't claim to have the answer, but I have a fascination with the hacker ethic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_ethic And I think figuring out how that works could help.

  • https://plus.google.com/106495672613183710380 Erik Kim

    The words “kill(ing)” and “murder” are not interchangeable.

    +Raymond Ho Terrorists murder, they don't just kill people. Having said that, I'd find justifying any murder difficult.

    +Conor Jacobs “Should Heinz have done that? Of course. The consequences of his burglary will likely not be lethal, and he would probably sacrifice his own life in the defense of his wife's. We have the price he's willing to pay, we know the maximum price he will pay, and the odds of him having to pay the price at all is less than 100%. Looks like Heinz is getting off cheaply”

    Your reasoning for Heinz's action is based on self-interest and is devoid of morality which the OP is based upon. And yet you steer the question of what, if any where the moral act lay (Heinz) and pin it on the druggist's action and to the perceived immoral circumstances (capitalism) the druggist and Heinz finds themselves in.

    I find it curious you condone Heinz's self interest and yet I get the sense you condemn the capitalistic system (economic theory based on self interest) that you deemed to be designed poorly. You appear to be saying capitalism is immoral, therefore one can act immorally within said system. I don't know about that…

  • https://plus.google.com/100348890596894378276 Conor Jacobs

    +Raymond Ho Thank you for the +1. As an atheist I like showing devout people that we can be moral too.

  • https://plus.google.com/100348890596894378276 Conor Jacobs

    +Erik Kim I feel as though you've perhaps only skimmed my post. In the second paragraph I clearly state that Hanz's actions were immoral. The paragraph you're quoting was intentionally divorced from morality and was directly addressing self interest. Stop foxnewsing me.

    About my politics I'm a socialist libertarian. I believe that free market principals would eventually give rise to socialist power structures, but that's a discussion for a different thread. As you can see from the second paragraph (the one you skipped) I believe that intelligent self-interest in a group setting is nearly the definition of morality.

    You're being intellectually lazy by not posting your own response before you go looking for a fight.

  • https://plus.google.com/109504760279039722641 Brooke Johnson

    +Emilie Eggleston No. The only way in which the law deals with crime is to either throw a person in jail or fine them a large amount of money. If the druggist were found guilty of a crime he would either be thrown in jail meaning that Heinz would lose access to the drug or be fined a large amount of money which might cause the druggist to stop producing the drug. Plus, he doesn't have much of a legal case. The druggist has the property rights to the drug, he has the right to charge as much money as he would like. Law is almost always rules in favor of property rights rather then the right of human beings to survive.

  • https://plus.google.com/106495672613183710380 Erik Kim

    +Conor Jacobs Cool your jets. It doesn't take much to get you all riled up. I've read your piece and made some observation, just like what you and anyone else in G+ would do to part take in a discussion. No need to make an attempt to label me. I'm sure you don't like that when people do it to you, so why do it?

    If you reread my comment, you'll find I didn't add nor subtract anything of consequences to what you stated. I tied in your reasoning for a particular action and applied that reasoning to another event all said and done in one of your paragraph. Both the idea of self interest and immorality was indicated by you in that one paragraph. I kept my comment relevant and within context.

    If you feel you don't want to address it, fine by me.

  • https://plus.google.com/100348890596894378276 Conor Jacobs

    +Brooke Johnson You just anarchisted pretty hard, you might want to have a seat. Maybe pull the bandanna down, let the your face breathe a little bit. Sorry, I kid because I care.

    Look, you're doing your cause a disservice by coming on here and posting a reactionary response to an academic question. You're giving support to the notion that all anarchists are disaffected fools who haven't thought about their political beliefs for longer than it takes to listen to a NOFX song. (18:23 BTW, if you haven't heard The Decline you really should. http://tinyurl.com/83vvo3s ) There are several very good, very logical arguments in support of anarchism, and all of them apply specifically to the comment posted. By failing to use those arguments in a thread where sound logic is a prerequisite to being taken seriously not using them makes it seem that you don't have a logical reason for your ethos, which is a pretty damning affirmation of a stereotype that has turned your movement a caricature in the eyes of the public. Please don't be a strawwoman.

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    Now now, gentlemen. Let's not be accusatory.

    I think we have learned that one has to make a few assumptions with the given dilemma in order to reach a conclusion. I mean, granted, it's a very short story. It says it takes place in Europe, but doesn't mention what time in history or under what kind of law.

    Can you believe that this little dilemma helped Lawrence Kohlberg develop his 6 universal stages of moral development? They are as follows…

    Level 1 – Preconventional Reasoning (lowest order)
    Stage 1 – Heteronomous morality
    Stage 2 – Individualism, instrumental purpose, and exchange

    Level 2 – Conventional Reasoning (intermediate)
    Stage 3 – Mutual interpersonal expectations, relationships, and interpersonal conformity
    Stage 4 – Social systems morality

    Level 3 – Postconventional Reasoning (highest level of morality)
    Stage 5 – Social contract or utility and individual rights
    Stage 6 – Universal ethical principles

    Stage 1 – In this first stage, moral reasoning is tied to punishment. Young children understand morals in a completely heteronomous way, which means they are governed by outside rules and laws. A child may reason that crossing a street alone is bad because they fear being yelled at and punished.

    Stage 2 – In this second stage, moral reasoning is centered around self. The child now has a sense of self and an awareness of others, but morals evolve to serve the needs of the individual rather than the collective. Individual perspective influences moral reasoning, and a child acts in a way that benefits him/herself. For example, after a fight, a girl might say sorry, not because it's the right thing to do for the other child, but because it will fix the situation and make play fun again.

    Stage 3 – The third stage is focused on living up to social expectations. A boy now seeks to be the “good boy” as learned from his parents or teachers because he values their trust, relationships, and conformity. A young girl might reason that setting the table without being asked is good because it strengthens her role as a family member. In the reverse, a boy might reason that throwing things in the house is bad because it diminishes his relationship with his parents.

    Stage 4 – The fourth stage is set upon maintaining social order. At this stage of moral development, a person understands that authority and law are set in place because they benefit society as a whole. A person might reason that fulfilling their duty on a community farm is good because it provides food, beauty, and a continual flow of income for community growth. A person might reason that laws are needed to prevent chaos.

    Stage 5 – Kohlberg's fifth stage of moral development is focused on individual rights and begins to blossom in the late teens. At this level, it is possible for a teacher to reason with a student that he should stop misbehaving because it is taking away the rights of his classmates to do their work in peace. A person in this stage values fundamental human rights and may reason that a law is bad because it infringes on those rights.

    Stage 6 – In the sixth and highest stage, morality is based upon universal ethical principles and abstract reasoning. At this stage, people follow these internalized principles of justice, even if they conflict with laws and rules.

  • https://plus.google.com/100348890596894378276 Conor Jacobs

    +Erik Kim Seriously, man, stop foxnewsing me.

    " you'll find I didn't add nor subtract anything of consequences to what you stated."

    "I didn't add" : "if any where the moral act lay (Heinz) and pin it on the druggist's action" Nope, I never faulted the druggist for anything.

    "nor subtract anything of consequences": You seem to have missed entire paragraph where I said that what Heinz did was immoral and could possibly have caused more deaths, which was almost a love letter to capitalism.

    Edit
    Actually forgot to respond to post.
    "You appear to be saying capitalism is immoral, therefore one can act immorally within said system. I don't know about that…" Is, I'm assuming, the point you want me to address, which I did. "I'm a socialist libertarian. I believe that free market principals would eventually give rise to socialist power structures, but that's a discussion for a different thread. As you can see from the second paragraph (the one you skipped) I believe that intelligent self-interest in a group setting is nearly the definition of morality."

  • https://plus.google.com/106495672613183710380 Erik Kim

    +Conor Jacobs I'll keep it simple since you like to sing and dance around a pointed question.

    Why are you OK with Heinz's action which is based on self interest, but leave an impression to your readers you're not OK with capitalism which is a theory of economics based on self interest? The commonality here is an act and/or behavior based on self interest.

    Now are you going to call that “foxnewsing”? If so, I wish I had it that easy when someone challenges my points.

  • https://plus.google.com/106495672613183710380 Erik Kim

    +Conor Jacobs “Nope, I never faulted the druggist for anything”

    From your original comment: “I would posit that both parties (Heinz & druggist) behaved immorally, but they did so because they live in a community that was designed in an immoral way."

    You just did, and your reasoning as to why both acted immorally is a conjecture.

  • https://plus.google.com/116240016594704513498 Ron Eddy

    Here is my take. It seems that most people that I have met in life (myself included to an extent) are of the opinion that morality is a "judgement" passed by one human onto another based on the situation at hand, and not something based in principles. But if that is the case then you can't answer this question because you do not know enough details to make a morality "judgement". For example if someone informed you this woman, should she get this medicine, will definitely give birth to Adolf Hitler (or any other such person who will cause harm to the world) then I bet a lot of people, if in the moment and forced to decide would have to conclude his actions are immoral not because he stole but because they will lead to millions of deaths and suffering. However, if you take the stance that stealing is immoral as a principle then you can answer this, no he shouldn't have. This is SUCH a fascinating topic its so cool seeing all the responses!

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    I just posted a related picture graph from my Child Development book.
    https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902/posts/esgudKVTZRw

    Edit: Thanks for joining us, +Ron Eddy. :)

  • https://plus.google.com/112977296955662731861 Chris Yarzab

    If you steal some thing no matter the value it makes you a thief. The husband should seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and pray for God's mercy on his wife.

  • https://plus.google.com/116240016594704513498 Ron Eddy

    No thank you +Emilie Eggleston this stuff is extremely interesting to me, but in my meatspace life I don't have many friends willing to engage like this. Glad I found you!

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    Conor and Kim, you have been temporarily blocked. This thread was for fun, and I never intended for anyone to fear being "taken seriously" here. Everyone is entitled to share their thoughts and raise questions, but you both crossed the line.

  • https://plus.google.com/115607115047101130036 Raymond Ho

    +Emilie Eggleston I have just got back on and this post has gone bizzare to say the least.. this is one of the few posts I have seen on G+ that went really pear shape ( maybe I should get out more … haha).
    It only reinforces to me what i said early in this post Conflict rises out of people's own biased agenda and again I repeat the start of the post said we don't make judgements on other responses ..it shows me the more people debate the less intelligent it gets
    Ciao for now ..

  • https://plus.google.com/106560765699716556745 Mark van Geyzel

    Great debate you started +Emilie Eggleston.

    I assume you are majoring in either philosophy, psychology or politics. Either way the argument of right and wrong is an argument about moral relativism. The druggist is a Capitalist and is answerable to his shareholders (that is neither morally right or wrong, merely a reality of capitalism). Heinz is desperate in the same way that the poor of Africa are desperate for the expensive AIDS drugs, or the poor cotton farmers in India are desperate for cheap roundup. If these folk took the law into their own hands they would lose the high moral ground they currently occupy and would become simple criminals. Heinz has no real choice but just to accept the situation. You yourself pointed out that if the druggist had not even invented the cure, Heinz would have to simply accept the situation.

    The facts of life around us show that greedy capitalists are eventually dealt with via popular uprisings like the Arab spring or the Occupy movement. That is how society deals with excessive capitalist greed. The issue of the druggists lack of social conscious is one that society, and not Heinz will have to deal with in the way that Nike had to stop using cheap labour to make their shoes and Cadbury had to work to overcome the issue of child slavery being used to harvest cocoa in Sierra Leone. Society will deal with the druggists of this world.

    Sadly, Heinzs' wife will probably die like the poor of the third world.

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    That is a very well-thought out response, +Mark van Geyzel. And, I'm studying to become a teacher… although I would agree that I am a jurisprudential thinker. :)

  • https://plus.google.com/103573902753341496792 David Collins

    Yes, at the individual (and very personal) level of the question, I would steal the drug to save my wife. Just as I would steal food to feed my starving children. But, +Mark van Geyzel makes the appropriate point when viewed at the level of society. It is not possible for the AIDS victims in Africa to steal the needed medicine from the drug companies. Societal level action must be taken. Governments must pass appropriate laws to protect the health and welfare of its citizens – in this case, either to require an affordable price for the drug or to pay the druggist itself. If not, then the citizens will eventually react – hence the Arab Spring and the OWS movements. Unfortunately, governments do not often react to those movements in positive ways. Not even a government that might be expected to do so. Which brings us to a telling post by +Axel Kratel on this point. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/02/occupy-wall-street-un-envoy_n_1125860.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

  • https://plus.google.com/110065623489887237624 Luke Storer

    Feel I'm joining the party a little late, but here's my $0.02.

    Morality has to be defined at a level higher than the individual in question.

    My take on the situation is the Dr's only thought it would work. So it's not like it s a 100% cure. The druggist (is that like a pharmacist) has sourced the Radium, and presumably done something to it to develop it into a cure. He is entitled to be rewarded for that, I'm sure sourcing radioactive material and working on it in a lab to develop a cure for cancer warrants some reward. I don't think stealing can be justified in any situation, what if she needed bone marrow would he just go out and steal some of that from a "donor".

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    Thanks for your input, +David Collins and +Luke Storer. Did you get a chance to read my comment in the middle about the 6 stages of moral development? It starts with "Now now gentlemen"

    Critics of Kohlberg think he put too much emphasis on moral reasoning and not enough on moral behavior. One might reason that an act is bad but will commit the bad act anyway. Or the fact that almost no one actually behaves immorally UNTIL they come up with a moral reason to do so… a moral reason that benefits society as a whole. Pretty interesting stuff if you ask me.

  • https://plus.google.com/110065623489887237624 Luke Storer

    +Emilie Eggleston You're definately more clued up, however I've just read the latter post where you shared the steps again. If the critics of the idea are doing so because it seems that they have hit the nail on the head. I think with moral reasoning we could quite easily find a moral reason to do something immoral. Lots of people justified stealing to help save a life, this justification by means of moral reasoning seems like it has the potential to be pretty dangerous to society. Without trying to hijack it seems that a lot of the arguments for cctv, id cards or state surveilance use moral reasoning to justify themselves, which as your post highlighted, doesn't really give a clear answer.

  • https://plus.google.com/109504760279039722641 Brooke Johnson

    +Conor Jacobs That's hilarious because I actually think anarchy doesn't work and that is not something I support. I'm actually more communist/socialist I think…in that from my perspective the greed of the druggist is interfering with a dying woman being able to access a basic need.

  • https://plus.google.com/103573902753341496792 David Collins

    Caveat: I am not an expert and only express my own opinion. Behavior has no morality. Sometimes it is moral to kill another person (self defense, war, etc.), most of the time it is not. Sometimes it was moral for a man to have many wives, many other times it is not. Because humans can reason – and so develop the constructs of good and bad – human reasoning defines what is moral and what is not. More importantly, moral behavior is defined by the behaviors accepted by society as good. In the given example (at the individual level), many see the husband's behavior as illegal but moral (because he protects a life even if that requires an act of theft) and the druggist as legal but immoral (because he is not violating any laws but his actions will contribute to a death of a person). Taken to the level of society, the OWS movement – at its core – is arguing that Wall Street (corporate America) behavior has been legal but immoral and, so, needs to change. Its behavior must conform to society's morality. Also, there is dissatisfaction that the U.S. government has not stepped in to regulate the seen immoral behavior. BTW: I don't think that people reason that an act is bad but commit the bad act anyway. I think that people reason that if an act is not illegal it must be moral. It is that kind of rationalization that allows the druggist to charge more than the husband can afford even if it means that the wife dies. In the end, since morality is a construct of society (culture), only society can resolve the dilemma. In my earlier post I argued that this dilemma can be resolved only by society (government) either regulating prices (which creates problems within the capitalist model) or by creating a system whereby society pays the cost (at least enough of the cost to be affordable to all members of the society).

  • https://plus.google.com/104971164798974135902 Emilie Eggleston

    Very interesting views, +David Collins. You conveyed them really well.