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Case Study on 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 $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 know to borrow the money, but he could only get together $1,000 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 am going to make money from it."

The classic ending to this vignette is: So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife.

What level of moral development is Heinz demonstrating, perhaps?

This would be preconventional morality, conventional or postconventional??

Re-write the ending to the vignette such that it now places Heinz at the other two levels of moral development:

1 First Ending:
2. Second Ending:

Solution Preview

Kohlberg's classification can be outlined in the following manner:


Pre-conventional 1 Obedience and Punishment

2 Individualism, Instrumentalism,
and Exchange

Conventional 3 "Good boy/girl"

4 Law and Order

Post-conventional 5 Social Contract

6 Principled Conscience

Based on the action taken in the original story, "Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife" Heinz is demonstrating Post-conventional moral development.

The third level of moral thinking is one that Kohlberg felt is not reached by the ...

Solution Summary

This solution explores the different types of morality, as described by Kohlberg - preconventional, conventional or postconventional. This is done through the use of a vignette/case study that presents a life or death situation. References are included.